Alan Gasser

Alan Gasser grew up in Ohio, singing in an Anabaptist church, where his father was a song leader. He studied voice at the College of Wooster (Bachelor of Music), Choral Conducting at the University of Minnesota (Master of Music), music criticism at McMaster University (Master of Arts in Music Criticism) and then worked as tenor soloist and chorister with The Elmer Iseler Singers and other choirs.

Now Alan is a music leader and teacher of voice, choral music, world music, and conducting. He currently teaches at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and at York University in the Department of Music. He has been a Unitarian Congregational Music Director and has taught and toured with Village Harmony summer-camp choirs in Vermont since 1999. He is also an experienced professional chorister, and has been co-director of the spirited women’s community choir, Echo, since 1993.

Alan has been singing Georgian folk music since 1985 and has travelled, studied and performed extensively in Georgia for nearly 20 years. He sang with the original North-American Georgian singing group, the Kartuli Ensemble, and has also toured Georgia and North America with the Trio Kavkasia and the Toronto ensemble Darbazi, and is a founding member of both groups. Alan was named a Silver Medal Laureate in 1995 by the Georgian Ministry of Culture: “For profound knowledge of the folk music of Georgia and his role in its popularization around the world.”

With his wife/partner, Becca Whitla, Alan produced a piano-vocal CD, “Parlour Songs and Heart Songs”, as well as a daughter, Emma Sophia Whitla, born in January 1999. The Trio Kavkasia has recorded for Well-Tempered World (1995) and Naxos World (2001). Echo produced a 10th-anniversary CD “Gonna Sing & Shout” in May, 2001, and Darbazi’s innovative CD “Darbazi & Friends” came out in October, 2001

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