Nicholas Chase (Music/Integrated Media MFA '00)
Professional Title: Composer/Performer/Producer/Arts Administrator
Areas Nicholas is able to mentor in: Visual art, media art, music, administration; self-presentation, professional application, portfolio development, academic advisement (for individuals planning to continue to graduate school, or grads looking for academic opportunities)
Professional Bio: "My purpose is to enlighten through music." Characterized by border-crossing energy, Nicholas Chase's music has been hailed by Strad Magazine as 'brilliant,' the Los Angeles Times as 'flamboyant, avant-garde' and 'brawling yet taut...the Rite of Spring meets Metallica,' by the Albuquerque Journal as 'crackling, witty,' by the Whittier Press as 'seamless, powerful... spectacular' and, dubbing him 'Eye/Ear Explorer,' the LA Weekly writes of his short opera 22, 'the human brain at its most imaginative.'
Chase earned his MFA in Composition/New Media and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts studying with Morton Subotnick, Bunita Marcus, Stephen L. Mosko, and Ziad Bunni of the Aleppo Conservatory of Arabic Classical Music, and James Tenney. In 2011, he earned PhD candidacy in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute working with Pauline Oliveros. Chase has been commissioned by the Long Beach Opera, the California E.A.R. Unit, Viola Plus, Ltd., as well as Swiss bassist Cristin Wildbolz, first violin of New York's Ensemble Sospeso, Mark Menzies and internationally renown flutist Dorothy Stone.
Those who have performed his music include New Zealand's 175 East, South West Chamber Music, and the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, where he received a joint award from the Symphony and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for the Andy Warhol-inspired work tw!TcH. Visual elements play a strong role in Chase's work; his musical scores have been hailed as works of visual art, were featured in Shifter Magazine (2010) and Emergency Index (2012), and have been sold at auction in Switzerland.
His integrated audio/visual performance works have been featured with the San Francisco/Bay Area Illuminated Corridor, the Center for Electronic Art, Information and Technology (CEAIT) Festival in Los Angeles, and culminated with the premiere of NOVA: Transmissions, an interactive audio/video composition, as part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial. World premieres include Gin Blossoms and Broccoli Boutonnières at Other Minds Festival in San Francisco, New York Above Ground atDarmstadt/New York Festival at Brooklyn’s Issue Project Room, Dumuzi: The Wild Beast headlining Stanford/CCRMA's Music from the Edge contemporary music festival, and the electronic multi-channel music-and-light ballet Ngoma Lungundu and Songs of the Thirsty Sword which headlined two festival openings (New Music Plus+ - Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Czech Republic, Music By The Eyeful - at the Luggage Store, San Francisco).
As a performer in pursuit of unusual musical possibilities, Chase has performed on music stand, mannequin limbs, lying inside a piano, on a bicycle—and more traditionally as a vocalist, and as a solo pianist. Chase is former frontman to the pop act Soul Parish, who topped the European Indie/Gothic club charts, and performs electronics and DJ turntables as a soloist with his own touring ensemble and with the California E.A.R. Unit.
As an improviser and visualist, Chase has worked with Russian pianist/improviser Roman Stolyar, Ben Miller, Miya Masaoka, and as NIRUSU III with renown harpist/improviser/scholar, Susan Allen and British bassist Rus Pearson. In fellowship at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany, he contributed bi-lingual voice-over to a series of programs on BauhausFM German radio.
Chase has taught in residencies at the Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Bauhaus University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and as a guest instructor at California Institute of the Arts.
As Associate Director and Education Outreach Director for Morton Subotnick's Wizard Music Inc., Chase collaborated with the Schools of Education at Arizona State University and UCLA in the development of elementary music curricula placing programs in three underserved communities across Los Angeles, Kansas City, Newark, and New York City.
Chase has also worked with various local communities to develop and underscore educational opportunities in the arts for children, teens, and adults. Chase is the founder of The UFOrchestra and the Founding Director of Musical Arts/Sound Laboratory (www.mas-lab.org) and Chase Ateliers.
As a producer, Chase has worked with Tom Erbe, Bob Bellerue, Lucky Mosko, Grammy-winner Jeremy Zuckerman, Annie Gosfield, Anne LeBaron, California E.A.R. Unit, Mark Menzies for Morton Subotnick and Cristin Wildbolz. In 2000, Chase was awarded the first President's Alumnus Award from California Institute of the Arts and was nominated for the Herb Alpert Award in Music in 2003.
In 2015, Chase was awarded a Certificate of Honor from the International Center for Japanese Culture in Tokyo for his koto/cello duo Gayate. Since 2011, Chase has worked in seclusion and spiritual retreat to develop his ideas on integrating Yoga/mind-body practices and Hindustani Classical Music forms with traditional Western Conservatory musicianship. In 2014, he presented theoretical discourse on his new work at California Institute of the Arts and recorded the first works shaped by these ideas, Bhajan, commissioned and performed by California E.A.R. Unit alumna Robin Lorentz. As of this writing, Chase is posthumously co-authoring and completing a book on the philosophy of musical co-creation Passage of Desire: Improvisation and the Human Journey, a project initiated by improviser, educator, and harpist, the late Dr. Susan Allen.
Best advice you can give to someone trying to enter your field: Discover your strengths, know your weaknesses, and optimize your talents.
Your favorite CalArts memory: In the beginning of my second year I was given a "Fortune Contract" as part of an installation. The contract was "Be less like the hare, more like the turtle!" I signed it, the artist retained the original, I have the copy framed and on my wall. I live by it.
Relevant professional links: