ABOUT

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Award-winning composer, sound artist, teacher, vocalist and guitarist, Nick Vasallo is “a composer on a mission and one possessed of a distinctive voice”  (Michael Quinn, The Classical Review, 2012). His music exhibits “strokes of genius that blend the density of heavy metal with the harmonics of gamelan, the polyrhythms of taiko, and atonality,” (François Couture, Monsieur Délire, 2012) “…creating new sonic alloys never heard before. Vasallo’s work is a fresh music that may help usher in a new audience for classical music.” (Daniel L. Muñoz, I Care If You Listen, 2014)

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nick Vasallo began performing music in high school where he picked up the electric guitar and eventually formed Antagony, later credited as birthing a popular subgenre of metal music called “deathcore”. While pursuing a career as a film composer, Vasallo decided to begin formal music training at Diablo Valley College as a Music Industry Studies major (C.A.+ A.A ‘2003) and transferred to Cal State East Bay (B.A. ‘2007) where he studied composition with Frank LaRocca, Jeffrey Miller, and Rafael Hernandez. As a Chancellor’s Fellow at University of California Santa Cruz (M.A. 2009, D.M.A. 2011), Vasallo studied with David Evan Jones, Paul Nauert, and David Cope. He subsequently went on to finish his doctorate in 2011 as a President’s Fellow.

His music reveals an eclectic array of influences (metal, experimental, taiko, and spectral music) and his compositions have been internationally performed by world renowned groups such as the Selesian Philharmonic, Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea, Music Now, Bridge Chamber Virtuosi, Atlanta Schola Cantorum, Borromeo String Quartet, and Watsonville Taiko. Vasallo is a strong advocate for the Bay Area new music scene and has collaborated with groups such as Elevate Ensemble, The Living Earth Show, Del Sol String Quartet, Mobius Trio, Wild Rumpus, San Francisco Choral Artists,  Friction Quartet, Redshift Ensemble, and Ignition Duo. His ongoing goal is to hybridize extreme metal with modern classical music. He often designs sound worlds using acoustic instruments with electronic/digital manipulations.

In 2010, Vasallo was the recipient of the President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship Award – the first arts student to ever receive that honor. Other honors and awards include: The American Prize in Composition 2015, Washington Composers Forum 2015 Award, San Francisco Classical Voice Music Educator Award 2013, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, MACRO Composition 2011 award, San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices 2009 award, The Seattle Pianist Collective 2008 selection, UCSC Student Orchestral Composition 2008 winner, 60×60 project – Pacific Rim Mix 2008-2009 selection, The David Cope Award for Music Composition Excellence 2008, New Jersey International Film Festival 2005 Selection “Sinful” musical score, and CSUEB Student Composers 2005 Competition winner.

Dr. Vasallo has helped make Diablo Valley College “California’s finest community college for music” and a top 10 Music Industry School in California. Dr. Vasallo created the music composition programs at Diablo Valley College and Cal Poly Pomona. He has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, CSU East Bay, and Gavilan College. Director of Music Industry Studies, AV Technology, and Music Composition at Diablo Valley College, Vasallo has taught college-level courses in Music Theory, Composition, Digital Audio, Electronic Music, Music Appreciation, Form & Analysis, Counterpoint, Instrumentation, Music Industry, History of Rock & Roll, and Songwriting in addition to his work as a composer and performing artist. Vasallo currently composes, sings, and plays guitar for his metal projects Antagony and Oblivion. He is an Artistic Director for Composers, Inc. and his music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers and released by Innova Recordings and Unique Leader.  Vasallo is also a passionate martial artist, he practices Jiu Jitsu and teaches Muay Thai Kickboxing at Danville Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Kickboxing. He is also the creator and head instructor of the Muay Thai program at Global Martial Arts University. He lives in Danville, CA with his wife, Denise, and their two children: Madison and Lucas.

View Curriculum Vitae

Short Bio
Bay Area native Dr. Nicholas Vasallo picked up the electric guitar while in high school and formed Antagony, later credited as birthing a popular subgenre of metal music called “deathcore”. A graduate of California State University, East Bay, Vasallo completed his doctorate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where in 2010 he was given the President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship Award – the first arts student to receive that honor. Other honors include the American Prize, International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition, MACRO composition award, and the San Francisco Choral Artists New Voices award. He has helped make Diablo Valley College “California’s finest community college for music” and a top 10 Music Industry School in California. Dr. Vasallo created the music composition programs at Diablo Valley College and Cal Poly Pomona. He has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, CSU East Bay, and Gavilan College. His students have went on to have successful careers as media composers, concert music composers, and graduate students at prestigious composition programs throughout the Unites States. Dr. Vasallo is the recipient of the San Francisco Classical Voice Music Educator Award 2013. His music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishers and available on Innova Recordings and Unique Leader. Vasallo is also a passionate martial artist, he practices Jiu Jitsu and teaches Muay Thai Kickboxing at Danville Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Kickboxing. He is also the creator and head instructor of the Muay Thai program at Global Martial Arts University. He lives in Danville, CA with his wife, Denise, and their two children: Madison and Lucas.

Martial Arts Bio (from GMAU)
Since 2003, Nick Vasallo has trained in (chronological order) Aikido, Karate, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, JiuJitsu, Muay Thai, and Krav Maga. Nick has won tournament medals, and has also competed in ​unsanctioned ​bouts. He teaches Muay Thai Kickboxing at Danville Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Kickboxing, where he is also a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu. He is also the creator and head instructor of the Muay Thai program at Global Martial Arts University. Nick is also a college professor of music, married with two kids, composes music, sings/plays guitar in two bands (Antagony and Oblivion). Some of the video tutorials he makes for his kickboxing students can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNyhnSG_uWacEnRvi03Y1ptn7RX-tF9ei

Composer, Professor, Guitarist, Martial Artist