Jason Thorpe Buchanan is an American composer whose works explore multiplicity, intelligibility, behavior, and the integration of live performance with technology. He is Artistic Director of the [Switch~ Ensemble], Department Chair/Lecturer in Composition, Theory, and Electroacoustic Music at the College of Music, Mahidol University in Thailand, and Visiting Lecturer in Composition and Interim Director of the Electronic Music Studios (UTEMS) at the Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin.

Commissions and performances include collaborations with Alarm Will Sound, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Interface (DE), Nikel Ensemble (Israel), Linea (FR), Insomnio (NL), EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble (UK), Slagwerk Den Haag (NL), Eklekto Percussion (CH), the Mivos Quartet (USA), Iktus Percussion, the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra, wild Up, the NY Virtuoso Singers, the Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble, TACETi (Thailand), and the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble.

Scenes from his multimedia opera Hunger have received performances at Darmstadt, The Industry’s FIRST TAKE in L.A., and MATA (NYC) with the [Switch~ Ensemble].

Honors include a Fulbright Fellowship (Hamburg, Germany), nomination for the 2015 Gaudeamus Prize, fellowships and commissions from Royaumont (2016 & 2017), MATA, the International Horn Society, and the Earle Brown Music Foundation. He was the recipient of an American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant, two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards (2014 & 2015), and the Howard Hanson Orchestral Prize, was winner of Iron Composer (2015), 2015 Artist-in-Residence at USF Verftet (Bergen, Norway), 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Brush Creek Foundation (Wyoming), and 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Embassy of Foreign Artists (Geneva, Switzerland).

He holds a Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music, served for three years as Executive Director of the VIPA Festival (Spain), two years as a Curator for the San Francisco Center for New Music, and one year as director of the Academy for Young Composers at TICF (Thailand).

As a guest composer, conductor, and lecturer, he is widely sought internationally at institutions such as the University of Chicago, Stanford, TRANSIT Festival (Belgium), Tzlil Meudcan (Israel), Chamber Music Campania (Italy), Eastman, Music Science Share Educators Conference (Shanghai, China), the Queens New Music Festival, the Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), the Bergen Center for Elektronisk Kunst (Norway), and over two dozen Universities throughout the United States.

[Curriculum vitae]
(updated Aug.25.2020)
[Media Portfolio]
(updated Sep.1.2019)


Jason Thorpe Buchanan is an American composer of operatic, orchestral, chamber, electroacoustic, and intermedia works that explore fragmentation, multiplicity, intelligibility, behavior, and the integration of live performance with technology. He is Artistic Director of the [Switch~ Ensemble], Department Chair/Lecturer in Composition, Theory, and Electronic Music Composition at the College of Music, Mahidol University in Thailand, and Visiting Lecturer in Composition and Interim Director of the Electronic Music Studios (UTEMS) at the Butler School of Music, University of Texas at Austin. His works have been described as "an unearthly collage of sounds", "sharply-edged", and "free jazz gone wrong—in a good way."

Jason is the recipient of a 2010-11 Fulbright Fellowship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg (DE) as a visiting scholar, a 2013 commission for Asymptotix Flux: Second Study in Entropy from the Mizzou International Composers Festival for Alarm Will Sound, the Howard Hanson Orchestral Prize (2014), a 2014 commission for Double Concerto from the International Horn Society written for the Eastman Musica Nova Ensemble, soloists Jeff Nelsen, Michael Walker, and conductor Brad Lubman, a 2014 commission from the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra as winner of Iron Composer (2014), two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards (2014 & 2015), an American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant (2015), a fellowship and commissions from Royaumont for soliloquios del viento (2016), written for the Talea Ensemble+EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble and ACTOR-NETWORK THEORY (2017) for the Académie Voix Nouvelles Ensemble, and commissions from Ensemble Nikel/Tzlil Meudcan (Israel, 2014) and Iktus Percussion (NYC, 2013), a German/American Fulbright Commission (2011), winner of newEar Composer’s Competition (2013), and 2015 Artist-in-Residence at USF Verftet/City Council of Bergen, Norway.

As a nominee for the 2015 Gaudeamus Prize, three works were presented by Insomnio, New European Ensemble, and Slagwerk Den Haag at Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL). His works walkside, lost and gimme shelter (2015), commissioned by Gaudeamus Muziekweek and Eklekto Percussion Geneva, both explore the structural intersection of precise physical gestures, fragile sounds, and speech alongside live audio and video processing. Three speaking percussionists manipulate household objects, microphones, and speakers embedded in wooden boxes while cameras generate a reservoir of video files. These files are retrieved, re-organized, and composited against one another, creating temporal, aural, and visual dissonances between past and present actions. As 2018 Artist-In-Residence at the Embassy of Foreign Artists in Geneva, Switzerland, he developed a new, interactive processing environment for surface, tension (2018), responding directly to the discrete physical gestures of performers and governing the behavior of both signal processing and soundfile triggering through wearable technology, sensors, and motion tracking.

PANIC ARCHITECTURE (2017), commissioned by the Earle Brown Music Foundation for the Talea Ensemble and TIME SPANS Festival in NYC, evokes a participatory framework demanding compulsive interaction and attention. The relentless influx of email, messages, and notifications compel our constant engagement and response, functioning as both our tether to society and primary mode of interpersonal contact. Intermittent reinforcement entices users to obsessively check for new content. Digital panic occurs when multiple, simultaneous systems demand a user’s attention concurrently.

Scenes from his multimedia opera Hunger have received performances at Darmstadt (2014) with Ensemble Interface (DE), The Industry’s FIRST TAKE in L.A. (2015) with wild Up, and the MATA Interval Series in New York City (2015) with the [Switch~ Ensemble].
Hunger is a kind of training session in mental disintegration... An ungodly opera needs ugly music, singers who produce primal sounds, an electric guitar that sounds scraped raw, a wailing orchestra effects, cuts the ear like a knife. Buchanan delivers.” — L.A. Times

all-forgetting-is-retrieval (2019) for ensemble and augmented conductor was commissioned by the Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium, exploring the formation of human memory, retrieval, failure, and the emotional space of "lost" experiences—the inability to be truly present in a moment, or further commit to memory experiences that are simultaneously both formative and fleeting. The rapid loss of their fidelity is staggering, and this work attempt to confront that impermanence and decay.

Primary mentors have included Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Steven Takasugi, Pierluigi Billone, Chaya Czernowin, Raphaël Cendo, David Liptak, Virko Baley, Peter Michael Hamel, Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann, Pablo Furman, and Georges Aperghis. Jason served for three years as Executive Director of the Valencia International Performance Academy & Festival (Spain), for two years as a Curator for the San Francisco Center for New Music, and as founding Director of the TICF Academy for Young Composer in Thailand. As a doctoral student, he served as instructor in electronic music and composition, board member of OSSIA, and assistant conductor for the Musica Nova Ensemble with conductor Brad Lubman at the Eastman School of Music.

As a guest composer, conductor, and lecturer, he is been widely sought internationally at institutions such as the University of Chicago, Stanford University, TRANSIT Festival (Belgium), Tzlil Meudcan Festival (Israel), Chamber Music Campania (Italy), Eastman School of Music, University of Miami Frost School of Music, Music Science Share Educators Conference (Shanghai, China), the Queens New Music Festival, MATA, the Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), the Bergen Center for Elektronisk Kunst (BEK; Norway), and over two dozen Universities throughout the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in Composition from the Eastman School of Music, and degrees in Composition and Music Technology from San José State University (BM & BA, 2008) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (MM, 2010), where he taught courses in composition and theory.

Current projects include the multimedia opera Hunger, and a large work for the International Contemporary Ensemble and Hong Kong New Music Ensemble commissioned by the MATA Festival in NYC.



Please contact me with any questions, including rental/purchase information: jasontbuchanan {at} gmail.com