• Nick Dunston Portrait
    Lang '20, Jazz '20

    BA Contemporary Music ’20, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts
    BFA Jazz and Contemporary Music ’20, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music

    What are you working on now?

    I have a lot on my plate right now! I’m in the middle of working on two new albums, and am in different phases for both of them. The first album I’m working on is with my Berlin-based band, Skultura. We’ve already recorded it, and it’s undergoing heavy post-production. The other album is a huge double-CD-length “anti-opera” named A Rolling Wave of Everything. I am still in the middle of writing the music for this one, which will be recorded in about a month. In the meantime, I’m busy with various gigs and tours and am also planning professional logistics for my 2023 schedule. Promotion-wise, I am performing and celebrating the release of my most recent album with my trio, Spider Season.

    When you started your program, what did you think you would be doing?

    At the time, I really just wanted to be an NYC-based jazz bassist who did some tours here and there and to compose my own music. As these goals gradually became realities, I began to expand into more creative directions as well as academically. A couple semesters into my degree, I added a BA in Contemporary Music to my initial BFA in Jazz Studies. This exposed me to different ways of thinking, not to mention great resources, that set strong precedents for how I would move forward creatively as an artist and musician. 

    What was a new way of learning that you experienced at The New School?

    The New School—unlike other major conservatories in the area—is really good at integrating itself into New York City and, as a result, feels like far less of a bubble. As a student at the College of Performing Arts, I had easy access to any musician I wanted to study with, not just the core faculty of the school. I worked with incredible faculty, such as Jane Ira Bloom and Reggie Workman, both of whom put me onto some life-changing stuff early on. I also got to check out a lot of contemporary art and meet other interdisciplinary artists and scholars through my BA degree at Eugene Lang College. The culture overall at The New School seems to really emphasize interdisciplinary, fully immersive learning, much more so than those in more traditional classroom settings.

    How did that change your way forward?

    Well, understanding the context of my work in the real world is a direct result of that interdisciplinary type of study, but on a more practical level, if you engage in fully immersive learning, you can gain a broader and deeper understanding of how to lead a sustainable career as an artist,if that is what you ultimately want. 

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Thinking optimistically, I would like to be more involved in works with the art world as a whole, as well as continuing to tour, perform, and record my projects. I see myself being more involved in the city’s instrument-building communities as well. Basically, I want to be able to survive comfortably doing whatever I want to do.

    How do you want to leave your mark on the world?

    Honestly, I don't really think about it on that scale. If I can reach any community, however small, that is good enough for me. Other than that, I’m trying to be an overall good person. I don’t really have some sort of overarching agenda other than that; I'm just trying to have a good time with my friends and family and write the music that I want to write. 

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