Composer and saxophonist Nathan Hanson has performed in venues from concert halls to prisons, churches to train stations, debutante balls to Soviet fallout shelters in places ranging from St. Paul to Slovenia; Paris to Pittsburgh; Milano to Milwaukee; and Rome (both Italy and Georgia). His compositions have been featured on radio, television and film in the United States and Europe. He is a graduate of Newberry College, and the University of South Carolina.
Hailed as an “extraordinary performer with a beautiful tone and concept” (Cadence Magazine), Mr. Hanson makes his home in St. Paul, MN since 2006 following a residency in New York from 1998 - 2006. His playing has been called “seductively pithy” (Marc Medwin, Signal to Noise), “unexpectedly tasteful and dignified” (Improjazz) and “immediately accessible without sacrificing musical smarts” (Jeff Jackson, Destination: OUT) with “tinges of Jan Garbarek and Albert Ayler” (Glen Hall, Exclaim!).
Mr. Hanson is primarily associated with Fantastic Merlins, whose 2010 CD How the Light Gets In was a featured album on Radio France and whose 2007 CD Look Around was named a Grammy Semi-Finalist. In addition, he has maintained a longstanding duo with bassist Brian Roessler and is part of the quartet that signaled the triumphant return of legendary French drummer Jacques Thollot. He has performed with a long list of luminaries including George Cartwright, Viv Corringham, Pablo Cueco, Mark Dresser, Harris Eisenstadt, Liberty Ellman, Douglas Ewart, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Hymas, Darius Jones, Elliot Humberto Kavee, Daniel Levin, Tony Malaby, Didier Petit, Mirtha Pozzi, Reuben Radding, Cecil Taylor, Claude Tchamitchian, Jacques Thollot, Matt Turner, Federico Ughi, Michael Zerang.
Awards include grants and commissions from New Music USA, The American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, City of St. Paul Cultural STAR, The Cedar Cultural Center, MN State Arts Board, The Jerome Foundation, The Southern Theater, and the National Performing Arts Convention.