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ABOUT

Photo: Aaron Sarles

With guitarist and composer Tristan Gianola, there is always music to be made.

Gianola stands on his own as a classically trained composer and conductor raised on rock n’ roll, with an experimental mind driven by meticulous standards, DIY attitude, distaste for cliches and the neurotic desire for something new. He can be found leading multiple bands of variant original music, ranging from Guitar is Dead’s fiery punk-jazz shredding to Pink Lion’s serene electro-chamber music. From dancing around a busy sideman schedule as a prolific guitarist, producing a never-ending list of new projects, conducting classically influenced ensembles, to getting trapped in the studio for days; always looking ahead to new sounds and leaving a monumental trail of musical conquests behind. Nicknamed “Maestro” by his colleagues, Gianola is a restless force in music. He currently operates out of New Orleans, after relocating there from his hometown Seattle in 2016.

Described as “flagrantly virtuosic” (Dave Segal, The Stranger), Gianola flexes his versatility as a guitarist, while staying rooted in his studies of contemporary classical composition and conducting at Cornish College of the Arts (2009-12). His first inspirations on guitar were the epic Bill & Ted rock solos of the 1980’s. Years later, after guitar studies in jazz, classical, experimental, and countless sideman gigs, his own sound recalls the influences of Bill Frisell, John Mclaughlin, Frank Zappa, Marc Ribot and Van Halen.

With many styles and sounds emanating from his guitars and compositions, Gianola’s music achieves sincerity and freshness, sonically ranging from utterly aggressive intensities to the gentlest subtleties. No matter the style, sound, or volume, Gianola strives to find interesting means as a composer to express the most basic human sentiments. Beyond guitar and composition, after leaving Cornish College of the Arts, Gianola worked closely with his mentor, composer Wayne Horvitz, and ran the music operations of Horvitz’s music venue, The Royal Room. Gianola’s experience as a guitarist, composer, booking agent, promoter, sound engineer, copyist, arranger, teacher and more provides him the skills to tackle any musical scenario.

Current regular projects include: Guitar is Dead, Pink Lion, Gertrude, Solo.

Past projects include: Bushcraft, SpiceRack, Being John Mclaughlin (tribute to Early Mahavishnu Orchestra), Vinyl Tap, The Cuts, Low Tones.

Gianola has played/worked with Wayne Horvitz, Mike Dillon, Skerik, Crystal Beth, Briggan Kraus, Alex Cline, Richard Felciano, Polyrhythmics, Grace Love, Hotels and many more.