Award-winning composer, sound artist, teacher, vocalist and guitarist, Nick Vasallo is “a composer on a mission and one possessed of a distinctive voice” (Michael Quinn, The Classical Review, 2012). His music exhibits “strokes of genius that blend the density of heavy metal with the harmonics of gamelan, the polyrhythms of taiko, and atonality,” (François Couture, Monsieur Délire, 2012) “…creating new sonic alloys never heard before. Vasallo’s work is a fresh music that may help usher in a new audience for classical music.” (Daniel L. Muñoz, I Care If You Listen, 2014)
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nick Vasallo began performing music in high school where he picked up the electric guitar and eventually formed Antagony, an influential extreme metal band in the underground. While pursuing a career as a film composer, Vasallo decided to begin formal music training at Diablo Valley College as a Music Industry Studies major and transferred to Cal State East Bay where he studied composition and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007. As a Chancellor’s Fellow at University of California Santa Cruz, Vasallo completed his Masters in 2009 and subsequently went on to finish his Doctorate in 2011 as a President’s Fellow.
His music reveals an eclectic array of influences (metal, experimental, taiko, and spectral music) and his compositions have been internationally performed by world renowned groups such as the Selesian Philharmonic, Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea, Music Now, Bridge Chamber Virtuosi, Atlanta Schola Cantorum, Borromeo String Quartet, and Watsonville Taiko. Vasallo is a strong advocate for the Bay Area new music scene and has collaborated with groups such as The Living Earth Show, Del Sol String Quartet, Mobius Trio, Wild Rumpus, San Francisco Choral Artists, Friction Quartet, Redshift Ensemble, and Ignition Duo. His ongoing goal is to hybridize extreme metal with modern classical music. He often designs sound worlds using acoustic instruments with electronic/digital manipulations.
In 2010, Vasallo was the recipient of the President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship Award – the first arts student to ever receive that honor. Other honors and awards include: The American Prize in Composition 2015, Washington Composers Forum 2015 Award, San Francisco Classical Voice Music Educator Award 2013, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, MACRO Composition 2011 award, San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices 2009 award, The Seattle Pianist Collective 2008 selection, UCSC Student Orchestral Composition 2008 winner, 60×60 project – Pacific Rim Mix 2008-2009 selection, The David Cope Award for Music Composition Excellence 2008, New Jersey International Film Festival 2005 Selection “Sinful” musical score, and CSUEB Student Composers 2005 Competition winner.
Director of Music Industry Studies and Music Composition at Diablo Valley College, Vasallo has taught college-level courses in Music Theory, Composition, Digital Audio, Electronic Music, Music Appreciation, Form & Analysis, Counterpoint, Instrumentation, Music Industry, History of Rock & Roll, and Songwriting in addition to his work as a composer and performing artist. He has previously taught at Cal Poly Pomona, CSU East Bay, UC Santa Cruz, Gavilan College, and Los Medanos College. Vasallo currently composes, does lead vocals and plays bass for the modern extreme metal band Oblivion. He is an Artistic Director for Composers, Inc. and his music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers and released by Innova Recordings and Unique Leader.
Official website: http://nickvasallo.com