Philip Lasser (b. 1963)
Composer, Music Theorist, Pianist
Philip Lasser’s music is a unique sound world that blends the subtle colors of French Impressionist sonorities with the crisp, direct sounds and rhythms of America’s musical palette. Standing apart from modernist trends and experiments, Lasser has devoted himself to the refinement of personal expression through economy of gesture and colorful harmony. He seeks content over form, expression over style.
At the age of five, Lasser began piano lessons and composing songs for his mother’s voice. At sixteen he entered Nadia Boulanger’s famed Ecole d’Arts Americaines in Fontainebleau, France, and his musical ear was forever changed. There he also met the legendary pianist Gaby Casadesus with whom he formed a long musical relationship, first as her student and then as co-author of “Ma Technique Quotidienne,” published by Editions Max Eschig. Following studies at Harvard College where he graduated summa cum laude, Lasser lived in Paris from 1985 – 1988, a pivotal period for his musical development, working with Boulanger’s closest colleague and disciple, Narcis Bonet. In 1988 Lasser entered Columbia University’s master’s program in composition, and undertook intensive studies in counterpoint with René Leibowitz’s disciple, Jacques-Louis Monod, thus forging a seamless link between the French world of musical color and the great German tradition of linear contrapuntal development.
Two years later Lasser entered the DMA program at The Juilliard School where he studied with David Diamond.
Since 1994, Lasser has been a distinguished member of the faculty of The Juilliard School. He is also the director of the European American Musical Alliance Summer Music Programs, a school dedicated to training young composers, chamber musicians, and conductors in the tradition of legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger. The programs are held annually at the historic Schola Cantorum in Paris, France.
Lasser’s music has been performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz, and The New York Chamber Symphony; and by such artists as Elizabeth Futral, Simone Dinnerstein, Margo Garrett, Lucy Shelton, Cho-Liang Lin, Zuill Bailey, Brian Zeger, Jean-Frédéric Neuburger, and Sasha Cooke. Lasser’ s works have been broadcast on network television, NPR, and XFM Hong Kong radio RTHK, as well as featured on the classical radio station of the New York Times, WQXR Reflections From the Keyboard with host David Dubal and Robert Sherman’s The Listening Room.
Lasser’s works are published in New York by Rassel Editions and by C.F. Peters Corp as well as in Paris by Editions Max Eschig (BMG International). Lasser’s works can be heard on the New World Records, Crystal Records and BMG RCA/Red Seal labels and on the Telarc and Sony Classical labels with performer Simone Dinnerstein.
Lasser was born in New York City and makes his home there today with his family.