The Scene


Aaron Gervais

Aaron Gervais

Based in San Francisco, composer Aaron Gervais works with ensembles and presenters across North America and Europe. He is particularly interested in humour, found materials, quotation/collage, and the sociological aspects of how people use music. As such, Aaron’s output ranges from the introspectively sombre to the irreverently slapstick, and critics have described his musical approach with statements from “I cried tears of laughter” to “unique, unsettling” and “this is just really great fun.” Over the past few years, Aaron’s work has centered around chamber music, vocal music, and opera, although orchestral music, live electronics, and pieces for dance and theatre also feature in his work.

Groups that have presented Aaron’s music include G27 Orchestra, the Nieuw Ensemble, Artists’ Vocal Ensemble, Quatuor Bozzini, Momenta Quartet, Tapestry New Opera, Orkest de Ereprijs, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Knights Orchestra, Ensemble Klang, and the London Sinfonietta among others. He has also appeared on prominent festivals, including Amsterdam’s Gaudeamus Music Week, Toronto’s New Wave, soundaXis, and SHIFT festivals, Aberdeen’s Sound Festival, New York’s MATA Festival, and San Francisco’s Other Minds Festival. Awards include the orkest de ereprijs’s International Young Composers Competition, an ASCAP Gould Award, and six prizes in Canada’s SOCAN Awards for Young Composers among others.

In addition to composing, Aaron is also an avid critical writer, publishing articles on the economic and philosophical issues facing new music. In particular, his pieces on the problematic nature of arts entrepreneurship have garnered widespread attention and are among the most viral articles on the subject anywhere online. In addition to posting on his blog at, several music publications have published his writing, including MusicWorks, Music-on-Main, NewMusicBox, and CultureBot.

Aaron holds a B.Mus from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in composition from UC San Diego. He has also studied at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in the Netherlands. When not composing, Aaron enjoys undertaking culinary projects and throwing dinner parties. The Art Music Promotion agency represents his music.

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