Biography

Nick Norton is a music maker from Los Angeles. He was born roughly 13.6 billion years after the universe and at least a few hundred thousand after vertebrates evolved a system to interpret vibrating air as sound. The LA Times describes his music as crazy, and NewMusicBox referred to his pieces as “visceral sonic haiku.”

Nick, like many others, discovered that he got a seriously life-affirming kick out of certain arrangements of sound, so started making some of his own at an early age by playing guitar and saxophone. He studied composition in college at UC San Diego, then at L’ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, then in graduate school at King’s College, London and UC Santa Barbara – and in a whole bunch of garages, studios, apartments, backyards, beaches, mountains, bars, libraries, clubs, restaurants, forests, and deserts.

Nick rejects the distinction between high and low forms of art, and is interested in creating new experiences for listeners from all backgrounds and destroying social barriers to enjoying music. Whether this is through composing, performing, producing events, writing, or even making a recommendation for listening, doesn’t matter much for Nick’s mission in life.

Recent projects and work include writing pieces for Ensemble Mise-En, Gnarwhallaby, and microtonal pianist Aron Kallay; founding and co-directing the organization Equal Sound; performing and recording with his bands Honest Iago and Better Looking People With Superior Ideas; running the website New Classic LA; co-directing Synchromy, a Los Angeles-based composers collaborative; a complete orchestration of the Brahms piano quintet; sound installations with the visual artist David Gordon; and teaching electronic music and composition at UC Santa Barbara, where he is pursuing his PhD.

He’s been really lucky, because he’s had great teachers along the way, including Clarence Barlow, Curtis Roads, Joel Feigin, Lei Liang, Robert Keeley, Rand Steiger, Chinary Ung, Harvey Sollberger, and Michel Merlet. He has also worked with George Benjamin and Sofia Gubaidulina. His music has been read and performed by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Argus Quartet, the Formalist Quartet, the Kansas City Chorale, Richard Valitutto, HOCKET, Luna Nova, What’s Next? Ensemble, Aron Kallay, the Isaura Quartet, Now Hear Ensemble, EXAUDI, Cadillac Moon Enseble, The Mustang Symphony, and many more. He has received awards and commissions from Now Hear Ensemble, L’ensemble Portmantô (who also gave him a lifetime appointment as composer-in-residence), the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, Meet the Composer, Worldwide Guitar Connections, WomenSing, the London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, the Dartington International Summer Festival, UC San Diego, and others.

Nick has a Chewbacca bobble head on his desk and wishes he had SPENT WAY TOO MUCH MONEY ON a Han Solo to go with it. He enjoys craft beer, sci fi, being in or near the ocean, and Oxford commas. Pretty much anything else you might want to know is available somewhere on this website, or by calling Nick directly at (805) 341 – 1029. Please keep in mind that California is on Pacific Time, and that people are sometimes less friendly before they have had their coffee in the morning.

All material copyright Nick Norton unless otherwise noted.