As a versatile musician, Erik K. Gustafson (born 1972) has remained active in the greater Boston area. Currently serving as Composer-in-Residence for Old South Church in Boston, Erik has also enjoyed numerous performances as pianist and choral singer. Known principally as an “accomplished” composer, Erik has had several commissions and requests for new music. Both within the sacred and secular realms, these requests for new music have involved jazz as well as classical and even cross-over pieces. In general, Erik’s music has ranged from solo piano and organ pieces to art songs and hymns to choral pieces with brass and larger ensemble accompaniment.
For several years, Erik’s music has been featured in a variety of events and observances. These occasions have included the 200th anniversary of City Mission Boston in 2016, the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston in 2014, and the one-year and five-year anniversaries of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2014 and in 2018, respectively. Having world-wide appeal, Erik’s music has had concert performances in Germany and Denmark. Also, Erik’s music has had an international audience with an original YouTube channel and with appearances on professional recordings, including Sam Ou’s and Harry Huff’s CD: With String and Pipe (2012). More locally, Erik’s music has had renditions by established performers and ensembles. Vocal artists, such as Adriana Repetto, Alecia Batson, and Rob Woodin, and instrumentalists including Willie Sordillo and Sam Ou have performed his music. In addition, renowned choral ensemble, Musica Sacra (Mary Beekman, Director), has included Erik’s music in concert.
Besides being acclaimed as “lyrical,” “neo-tonal,” “idiomatic,” and “visionary,” perhaps the most resounding description of Erik’s music has come in being called “physiologically correct (P.C.)”. In 2018, Erik released an album: (for a moment), featuring ten original pieces for piano solo and his own piano-playing. In large part, the CD was made for people suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, or similar conditions. Additionally, the recording fits overall themes of Erik’s musical pursuits: healing, caring, and lifting up ideas, occasions, and feelings.
Having earned his degrees in music from Harvard College and from Indiana University, School of Music (Bloomington), Erik has aspired to life-long learning. Having enjoyed studies with Alice Parker, Erik has attended courses at Harvard Divinity School and Hebrew College. He has also completed two residencies as Composer Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA).
Currently, Erik has been working on a number of ongoing projects. Having just finished four commissioned pieces for a concert given in Germany in late August 2019, Erik is in the process of completing pieces already begun. From even a while ago, these pieces have included “Number 522” for alto saxophone and piano, Crossing the Bar for voice and piano, and a finalized arrangement of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” for piano solo (N.B.: an early version of this piece has already been played at a memorial service given in Summer 2019).