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Aaron Gervais


San Francisco, CA         

Based in San Francisco, composer Aaron Gervais enjoys frequent performances of his work by leading ensembles, presenters, and festivals in North America and Europe. He draws upon humor, quotation, pop music influences, and found materials to create work that spans the sombre to the slapstick, inspiring a range of critical reactions from “unique, unsettling” to “this is just really great fun” and “I cried tears of laughter.” His output focuses primarily on chamber music and opera but also includes orchestral music, live electronics, solo works, and music for theatre and dance.

Aaron receives a steady stream of commissions and performances by groups around the world, including the Nieuw Ensemble, Tapestry New Opera, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Knights Orchestra, G27 Orchestra, Ensemble Klang, the London Sinfonietta, Artists’ Vocal Ensemble, and the Arditti Quartet. He has also appeared on prominent festivals, including Amsterdam’s Gaudeamus Music Week, New York’s MATA Festival, and San Francisco’s Other Minds Festival. Awards include the orkest de ereprijs’s International Young Composers Competition, an ASCAP Gould Award, six prizes in Canada’s SOCAN Awards for Young Composers, and numerous other prizes.

In addition to writing music, Aaron blogs on his website aarongervais.com, discussing the philosophical and social issues facing classical music today. He holds a B.Mus from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in composition from UC San Diego. When not composing, Aaron enjoys undertaking culinary projects and throwing dinner parties. He is represented by Art Music Promotion.


Articles by Aaron Gervais:

Articles December 12 2017 | By Aaron Gervais
This Is Why Your Audience Building Fails

New music offers the world something unique that is worth sharing as broadly as possible. We desperately need to get better at sharing it.

Articles September 14 2016 | By Aaron Gervais
Some Reflections on Transitioning Out of Being a “Young Composer”

Composing is about who you know...The reasons why you write music will become clearer... Thinking back on the past few years, I suppose I have learned a few things that...

Articles February 24 2016 | By Aaron Gervais
Why Pastiche Has Taken Over Music

Just look at the names: new complexity, neo-romanticism, post-minimalism—three of the broadest trends in contemporary music, all with echoes of pastiche baked right into their labels. Clearly artists have always...

Articles October 21 2015 | By Aaron Gervais
Are Unions Relevant to New Music?

New music musicians are generally left-leaning and pro-labor, yet much of the new music field is non-unionized. Why is that?

Articles June 25 2014 | By Aaron Gervais
The Score Has Got You By the Short Hairs

Assumptions are baked into every aspect of music notation, often layered one on top of the other, and they color the kinds of music we can make. Make too many...