Trey Anastasio has established himself as a prolific composer, masterful guitarist (named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time) and compelling performer. Anastasio is a founding member of the GRAMMY®-nominated, genre-melding rock band Phish, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and has long incorporated classical elements in the band’s compositions as well as throughout his solo work. A curious and constant composer, Anastasio draws inspiration from experimental jazz, classical, pop, reggae, metal and barbershop music. Early songs such as “Divided Sky” and “Fluffhead,“ through the more recent “Time Turns Elastic” were composed to exemplify development and harmonic elegance not commonly found in modern popular music.
Anastasio began his foray into the classical world in 2000, in collaboration with Troy Peters, director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra, on an orchestral version of Phish’s “Guyute.” The piece, which was performed at Carnegie Hall, the Music Hall in Troy, NY and the Flynn Theatre in Burlington, VT, had a lasting effect on Anastasio. In 2004 Anastasio conducted the Nashville Chamber Orchestra at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, providing the crowd of 80,000 rock fans with a riveting introduction to “new classical” music. It was there he forged a partnership he maintains to this day with composer and orchestrator Don Hart, who arranged material from Anastasio’s solo instrumental album Seis de Mayo for that landmark performance.
In 2009, Anastasio performed with world-renowned ensembles the New York Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times hailed Anastasio’s Carnegie Hall performance with the New York Philharmonic as “that rarest of rarities, a classical-rock hybrid that might please partisans from both constituencies. Set amid a generous group of popular Phish songs — gentle, string-cushioned ballads like ‘Brian and Robert’ and ‘Let Me Lie,’ as well as the audacious, intricate instrumentals ‘Guyute Orchestral’ and ‘You Enjoy Myself’ — the new piece [‘Time Turns Elastic’] could hardly have gone wrong.” Anastasio’s independent label, Rubber Jungle Records, released the studio recording of “Time Turns Elastic,” a groundbreaking work for vocals, guitar and orchestra, with the Northwest Sinfonia.
Anastasio embarked on his first orchestral tour in early 2012, performing with the Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Colorado symphonies and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Scott Dunn, Associate Conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic’s Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted the programs. Rolling Stone noted: “his forays into classical music are just as innovative and exciting as his groundbreaking work in a rock band…these rare nights when he links up with a local philharmonic are genuine treats not to be missed.” In 2013, he played a sold-out show with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) at Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, DC.