Garrison Gerard is an American composer of electroacoustic and concert music; his work explores intersections between ecology and music. Characterized by dramatic gestures and moments of arresting luminosity, his music is an exploration through intimate sound worlds. His work builds on multiple traditions spanning from spectralism, modernism, and minimalism as well as reaching back to the classical canon and renaissance music. Growing up in North Georgia, he sang in choir and played violin in orchestra, and the influence of the natural beauty of the area has had a lasting impact on his work.
His music has been presented internationally with performances by groups such as [Mod]ular Ensemble, Fort Worth Symphony, and Nu Atmospheres Ensemble. An ardent collaborator, he has been commissioned by ensembles and soloists such as Andrew Cook, Spencer Byrd, the Avenue C Project, Artelier Piano Quartet, and Amorsima String Trio. In 2020 Garrison served as Artist-in-Residence of Padre Island National Seashore—he recorded sounds across the island and incorporated them in multiple pieces exploring the biomes and environmental impact of society along the coast of Texas.
Gerard is currently engaging in research exploring the interaction between nature and music through acoustic ecology. He has carried out acoustic surveys tracking the impact of human noise on natural ecosystems in Patagonia, the Chihuahuan Desert, Denali National Park, Iceland, and other locations. Collaboration is central to his work; he has worked with multiple artists in the creation of experimental works and performance art pieces, most recently including works with the choreographer Briana Less exploring the nature of communication and joint improvisation.
In addition to composition, Garrison is a conductor, pianist, trumpeter, improviser, and avid advocate for new music. He is a founding member of the Nu Atmospheres Ensemble and conducts the NOVA New Music Ensemble at the University of North Texas. In 2018 he was the Guest Director for the UNT Percussion Ensemble. A member of the UNT Free Improvisation ensemble, he regularly performs on both trumpet and piano. Working with contemporary composers is a particular focus for him, having conducted the premiere of more than 30 pieces by living composers.
Gerard completed his Doctoral degree in Music Composition from the University of North Texas and received a Master's in Music Composition from UNT and a Bachelors in Piano from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He is currently wokring as a researcher with the University of Iceland thanks to the support of a Fulbright/National Science Foundation Artic Research Award. His composition teachers include Joseph Klein, Sungji Hong, Panayiotis Kokoras, Andrew May, Kirsten Broberg, and Jay Walls.