VanHassel, Dan

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Dan VanHassel


Born: 1981

Country: USA

Studies: University of California-Berkeley, New England Conservatory, Carnegie Mellon University

Teachers: Edmund Campion, Ken Ueno, John Mallia, Michael Gandolfi, Leonardo Balada, Nancy Galbraith


The music of composer and multi-instrumentalist Dan VanHassel (b. 1981) has been described as “energizing” (Wall Street Journal), “a refreshing direction” (I Care If You, and “an imaginative and rewarding soundscape” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Drawing from a background in rock, Indonesian gamelan, free improvisation, and classical music, his works create an evocative sound world that is both exuberantly expressive and intricately constructed.

His work for chamber ensemble and electronics Ghost in the Machine, performed by the Talea Ensemble on the final night of the 2015 MATA Festival in New York City, has been praised as “something of a masterpiece…this piece needs to be heard, seen, talked about, and learned from” (New Classic LA). fzzl for snare drum and live electronics, featured at the International Computer Music Conference in Perth, Australia, was called a “magnificently-crafted composition…VanHassel has created a consistently fresh and surprising dialogue between the live performer and the electronically induced sound” (Lontano Music).

Current projects include a large-scale song cycle for soprano Vanessa Langer and chamber ensemble Wild Rumpus, premiering in Summer 2016 with support from Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Fund and a new work for the UC Santa Cruz Wind Ensemble with the composer on electric guitar, premiering in May 2016 with support from the Barlow Endowment.

Other recent performances of note include the world premiere of Ever Expanding for trio with live electronics in Shanghai, China commissioned by Shanghai Conservatory’s Electronic Music Week, as well as performances by Dinosaur Annex in Boston, pianists Gloria Cheng and Keith Kirchoff, Empyrean Ensemble, Ignition Duo, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Red Fish Blue Fish percussion ensemble, and Santa Barbara’s Now Hear Ensemble. His work has also been featured at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, UC Davis Music and Words Festival, Wellesley Composers Conference, June in Buffalo, Music11 Festival, the SEAMUS National Conference, and the Original Gravity Concert Series.

Forthcoming recordings featuring his music include Ablaze Amidst the Horns, the debut album from San Francisco’s Ignition Duo, featuring Reverie for two electric guitars, and Music from SEAMUS, Vol. 25 featuring fzzl. Recordings of his music can also be heard on releases on the Soundset, Perishable, and Thinking OutLoud labels.

His music has been recognized by numerous honors and awards from ASCAP, New England Conservatory, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, the Guerrilla Composers Guild, and the Kalamazoo New Music Project.

Also active as a concert organizer and performer on piano and electric guitar, Dan is a founding member and artistic director of contemporary chamber ensemble Wild Rumpus in San Francisco. Cited as a “fresh young ensemble” by the Wall Street Journal and “a showcase of virtuosity and imagination” by San Francisco Classical Voice, Wild Rumpus is devoted to presenting the music of the present, with an emphasis on commissioning young and emerging composers.

Currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts, Dan has degrees from the University of California-Berkeley, New England Conservatory, and Carnegie Mellon University. He has studied composition with Edmund Campion, Ken Ueno, John Mallia, Michael Gandolfi, Leonardo Balada, and Nancy Galbraith.[1]

Works for Percussion

Chasm - Percussion Duo, Flutes, Piano
Ever Expanding - Multiple Percussion, Flute, Cello, Live Electronics
fzzl - Snare Drum; Live Electronics
Here Comes… - Marimba
Noise Peal Extravagant - Percussion Quintet
UNIFY - Percussion Quartet
Trudge Blasted Exotic - Percussion Duo