A visit with composer Nolan Gasser, who in addition to being a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist is the chief architect of the Music Genome Project, the musical technology behind the famous Pandora personalized radio application.
A visit with composer Nolan Gasser, who in addition to being a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist is the chief architect of the Music Genome Project, the musical technology behind the famous Pandora personalized radio application - which is fast changing the nature of radio.
We talk with Gasser about breaking down the "genome" of a musical composition, how musicians at Pandora categorize a particular piece of music, and why the selections you hear on Pandora are so well programmed for your own taste.
Nolan Gasser is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist. His original works have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, La Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, etc.
Among recent triumphs, his World Concerto for Cello and Orchestra received its premiere in Oakland and San Francisco in performances by famed Israeli cellist Maya Beiser, and a trio of international soloists on the erhu, sarangi, and oud, along with the Oakland Symphony under Maestro Michael Morgan; the complete four-movement symphonic oratorio, American Festivals, was performed at IMG Artists' 2008 Festival del sole in Napa Valley; his GLAST Prelude, written for the 2008 launch of NASA's Fermi Space Telescope - recorded by the American Brass Quintet, and featuring video by NASA Goddard - became an Internet sensation, with over 150,000 views on YouTube.
Upcoming projects include a second commission for NASA's Fermi mission - a work entitled Cosmic Reflections, for narrator and orchestra (depicting the entire history of the Universe), to be premiered at the Kennedy Center in November 2009; as well as an orchestral overture commissioned by Maestro Bruno Ferrandis and the Santa Rosa Symphony to mark the grand opening of the Green Music Center in 2011; among others.
Outside of composition, Dr. Gasser is the chief musical architect of the Music Genome Project, the musical technology behind the famous Pandora personalized radio application - which is fast changing the nature of radio.? He is also the Artistic Director of the Classical Archives, the largest classical music website on the Internet. As a pinist, Dr. Gasser performs and records regularly with marquee performers as diverse as Steve Miller, John Handy, and Carol Channing. He also leads several outstanding music groups in concerts throughout the US and abroad, and appears regularly in Sonoma County, CA, in his capacity as the Music Director of Lynmar Winery (Sebastopol, CA).
Dr. Gasser received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford University, where he has been an Adjunct Professor in Medieval and Renaissance Music History.? He studied composition in Paris (and Fontainebleau) with Betsy Jolas, Gilbert Amy, and Tristan Murail; at NYU with Todd Brief and Menachem Zur, and at CSU, Northridge with Aurelio de la Vega. He lives with his wife and two children in Petaluma, CA.