Garrett Fisher is a composer, writer, pianist and filmmaker. He grew up in Michigan and Maine, and lived in Istanbul and London as part of his parents’ sabbaticals. After graduating from Oberlin College in composition and English, he moved to Seattle where he formed the Fisher Ensemble. In Seattle, he studied Indian classical music with Shujaat Husain Kahn.
Throughout his composing career, Fisher has studied and combined elements from multiple global musical traditions to create a signature style that offers a new lens for mythical and historical material. Since 1994, he has created over a dozen immersive, ritualistic opera-theatre works that draw on history to myth and are inspired by Ancient forms such as Japanese Noh and Ancient Greek tragedy. Performed in the US and Europe, his music “has combined elements of opera, dance, Indian raga, Japanese Noh theater and more into fusions that have both a ritualistic intensity and an improvisatory freedom…a groundbreaking hybrid...a strong, unified and strikingly individual utterance of unambiguous beauty” (The New York Times). KOCHO received its world premiere by Beth Morrison Projects in New York City; YOSHINAKA, in collaboration with Tokyo-based Noh master Munenori Takeda and the 25-year Fisher Ensemble received its world premiere at Seattle’s ACT Theatre. BLOOD MOON, commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE Arts Center received its world premiere at New York City’s Prototype Festival in January, 2020. The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Fisher ingeniously transfigured the sound world of classical Japanese Noh drama."
Rather than determine every last note in isolation, Fisher’s is known for his highly collaborative process, often eliciting input from producing team members, and even performers, early on in each creative process. Fisher incorporates his unique “blueprints” – improvisatory frameworks for performers to elaborate upon – as a way to advance narrative aspects that highlight each musician’s unique interpretation. Inspired by the Indian raga, this compositional freedom is foreign to most western musicians, and requires great trust and extensive practice. No two performances are ever the same. As he describes it, “when participants, directors, designers, performers, have a sense of ownership in the work, it makes the work better…Collaboration opens me up to different cultures and ways of thinking and I always feel changed and better for it” (International Examiner).
Fisher has recently taken his work to a new experimental level, creating a series of 36 BLUEPRINTS FOR SOLO PIANO. Book 1: Winter was premiered as part of Seattle’s Wayward Music Series in 2021, and was hailed by the Seattle Times as “daring...A 45-minute suite of overwhelming textural richness, rhythmic freedom and sonic grandeur...the most immersive and beautiful new piano music I’d heard in years...no piano lover should miss it.”
His work has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and the International Examiner. He has been interviewed by WNYC, KUOW, NewMusicBox, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He was awarded a Seattle Magazine 2011 Artist Spotlight Award. His music can be found on the BIS label (THE PASSION OF SAINT THOMAS MORE is part of their 30 year/30 disc commemorative series and earned 10/10 from Classics Today).
“Among American composers of his generation, Garrett stands out because of the way he’s assimilated such diverse global musical and other artistic influences into a distinctive, original...sound. And he’s successfully created a strong collaborative process for making multimedia productions that may be a sustainable model for independent twenty-first-century American composers.”
–Brett Scott, Wall Street Journal critic