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Meet Chase Morrin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chase Morrin.

Chase, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in San Diego with a family who didn’t play music or affiliated with the arts in any significant way. My parents bought me a toy keyboard from Costco for Christmas when I was 8, thinking I would play with it for a few months and then throw it away. But I loved that keyboard – I tried to teach myself songs and make up melodies. A year later I was still constantly playing it and asking for lessons.

My astonished parents eventually gave in and started me on classical lessons with a local teacher. Because of my initial lack of training, I already had the freedom of jazz and spirit of composition in my veins, so when I started discovering artists like Chick Corea and Oscar Peterson, I was instantly drawn to the music. In high school, I kept learning a discovering: I traveled to Indonesia to study Gamelan Music, I constantly played Salsa and Timba gigs, I formed my own bands, I recorded an album.

I was always interested in math and science too, so for college, I moved to Boston to study Computer Science and Neurobiology at Harvard while studying composition and piano at New England Conservatory. When I finished my masters at NEC, I attended a life-changing program called the Global Jazz Institute at Berklee, where instructors like Danilo Perez and Marco Pignataro changed the way I look at music as a vehicle for social change and community building.

Now, I am pursuing a number of musical projects focused on humanitarian efforts and cross-cultural collaboration.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am focused on musical projects that speak for social justice, address humanitarian efforts, and promote cultural understanding. One example is a duo called Gapi, with me playing the piano and my dear friend DoYeon Kim playing the Gayageum (a traditional instrument from Korea). During our concerts and lectures, we talk about our different backgrounds and how our process of collaboration advocates for empathy and understanding between different communities. Because of these themes, the music flourishes and connects with people at a deep level.

Another project I have been involved with is called Kalesma. Created by my friend Vasilis Kostas, it is a program that works with abandoned and refugee children in Greece, dedicated to establishing a lasting music education program for the children of Kivotos.

This past summer, six of us traveled to Greece for an initial concert with the children, to give three scholarships for further music study, and to raise more awareness and funds for the mission. One last project I created recently is called the Music Alliance Project, a transformative experience, bridging the gap between jazz and classical musicians.

This project is a process of collaboration, a pedagogical way of creating an ensemble of jazz and classical musicians and bringing their aesthetics and creative voices closer together. I am currently in the process of reaching out to other universities and organizations to continue this work such as Yellow Barn, where me and my friend Cordelia Tapping will do a residency next year.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
My advice is to think deeply about music, it’s importance and the world outside. Most artists are not great at advocating for themselves and for the arts in general, and this is part of the reason why we see school arts budgets being cut and social awareness decreased.

I also see a lot of musicians disillusioned with the niche genre-based communities – it becomes tough to pay the bills and the idioms become redundant. I’m constantly fighting to keep the young spirit of discovery alive and for me, the best way to do this is to look for all the incredible and different people around us and try to play music in the way we want a better future to look.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Seungoh Ryu

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