Philip Lasser (b. 1963)
Composer of poetic and lyrical music, Philip Lasser has crafted a unique soundworld blending the subtle colors of French Impressionist sonorities with the crisp, direct sounds and rhythms of America’s jaunty musical palette.
“I seek content over form, expression over style.”
Standing apart from the modernist trends and experiments, Philip Lasser has devoted himself to the refinement of personal expression through an economy of gesture and a blossoming of color. In recognition of his distinct musical voice, Philip Lasser recently received the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. This prize is awarded in collaboration with the C.F. Peters Corporation to publish and promote the work of an American composer.
Philip Lasser was born in New York City, August 4, 1963. At the age of five, Philip 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 masters 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.
Philip Lasser’s music has been performed by the 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. Philip Lasser’ s works have been broadcast on network television 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. Dr. Lasser’ s works have also been broadcast on NPR, and XFM Hong Kong radio RTHK.
Philip 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 label with performer Simone Dinnerstein.
Lasser’s recent book, The Spiraling Tapestry: An Inquiry into the Contrapuntal Fabric of Music offers a pioneering view on Bach’s compositional world.
Philip Lasser directs 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 Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, France.
Philip Lasser is a distinguished member of the faculty of The Juilliard School since 1994.