Nathan Hanson

Nathan Hanson

Musicians | Instrument: Saxophone | Location: Minneapolis

Immediately accessible without sacrificing musical smarts.

—Destination: OUT

Updated: April 4, 2023

Born: May 11, 1963

Saxophonist and composer Nathan Hanson makes music that invites listeners to stand outside themselves and the flow of time. His improvisations are “lithe and soaring, engaging in judicious honk 'n' splatter” (New York City Jazz Record).  

In Europe, Hanson has performed at the Atlantique Jazz Festival, Splendor in Amsterdam and the Sons d’Hiver Festival in Paris. In the US he’s played at New York’s Knitting Factory, the Outpost in Albuquerque, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and Chicago’s Elastic.  

With grants from New Music America and the Minnesota State Arts Board Hanson has launched solo projects that explore how space interacts with sound. Whether it’s a cathedral, a tree farm, or a sculpture garden, Hanson investigates how to channel the sound of each performance space. The energy of the audience circulates with the music, silence and breath. The effect leads listeners to become more present to the unfolding of each moment.  

Hanson’s tours of the US and Europe opened the door to collaborations with Jacques Thollot,  Catherine Delaunay, Dennis Gonzalez and Anne La Berge.  He has recorded more than a dozen albums on labels including Innova, nato, and Skirl. 

Nathan is a graduate of Newberry College (BME, 1985) and the University of South Carolina (MME, 1988). He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1963 and grew up all over the east coast (New York, Maine, Maryland, Florida).


“Lithe and soaring...engaging in judicious honk 'n' splatter”  
New York City Jazz Record

“Music that’s unpredictable and full of emotion”  
Milwaukee Shepherd-Express 

"Seductively pithy, refreshingly cinematic”  
Signal to Noise 

“Beautiful and stubborn, somehow both open-ended and complete” 
Said the Gramophone (Canada)

“Immediately accessible without sacrificing musical smarts” 
Destination: OUT 

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