Gabriel José Bolaños (b. 1984 Bogotá, Colombia) is a Nicaraguan-American composer of solo, chamber, orchestral and electronic music. He frequently collaborates closely with performers, and writes music that explores unusual structures and timbres. He is interested in computer-assisted-composition, auditory perception and linguistics. His recent music engages with theories of ecological listening: how our sense of hearing evolved primarily to interpret our environment. He enjoys listening to music by Harvey, Furrer, Ligeti, Grisey, Cerha, Romitelli, Messiaen, Os Mutantes, Simon Diaz, Sabicas and Bach.
Recent projects include a residency at CIRM with a commission for ensemble C. Barré for festival MANCA in Nice, France, a collection of audiovisual vignettes titled The Grand Transparents, a collaboration with Bassoonist Dana Jessen for solo bassoon and electronics called Los Minúsculos, and a collaboration with jazz pianist Frank Carlberg featuring improvised solo piano with live processing.
Bolaños received a BA in Music from Columbia University and a PhD in Music Theory and Composition from UC Davis. His principal composition teachers include Mika Pelo, Pablo Ortiz, Laurie San Martin, Fabien Lévy and Sebastian Currier, and he studied orchestration with Tristan Murail. He also attended the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau (France), SICPP (Boston), Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), New Music on the Point (Vermont), Festival Mixtur (Barcelona) and SPLICE Institute (Michigan).
Bolaños is Assistant Professor of Music Composition at Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, where he teaches courses in composition and musical acoustics. He was visiting lecturer at Bates College for the 2018-2019 academic year and taught courses in music theory and music technology. As a 2016-17 Fulbright Visiting Scholar in Nicaragua, he was composer-in-residence and visiting conductor for the UPOLI Conservatory Orchestra, and visiting professor at the UPOLI Conservatory of Music. He is co-founder and artistic director of Proyecto Eco, Nicaragua’s first new-music ensemble. He has also helped organize artistic and cultural exchanges between US and Nicaraguan musicians. Beyond his work as a teacher and composer of concert music, he has also written music for film, theater and dance, and has experience performing as a flamenco dance accompanist.