Aaron Haas is a professional classical guitarist and an avid meditation practitioner, exploring both the depths of the musical experience and the silence from where it arises. After a late start to the guitar at age 16, Aaron earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Skidmore College and then went to study with Italian virtuoso Lorenzo Micheli for two years in Milan, Italy. Upon returning to the United States, he completed both a Master of Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2015, and then a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Southern California in 2019, both while serving as a teaching assistant. He now lives and teaches in Los Angeles where he performs regularly with soprano Anastasia Malliaras in their group: Duo Apollon. The two were selected as winners of the Beverley Hills Auditions in 2019 and are just now finishing their debut CD.
His meditation path began a bit earlier, at age 15, with the Excel Experience for a New Paradigm: a San Francisco-based program designed to teach meditation to teenagers. His path was largely self-taught after that until 2013, when he met his mentor and teacher, John J. Prendergast, a psychotherapist and Nondual teacher who is a longtime student of both the late European sage Jean Klein and American teacher from the Zen Buddhist tradition, Adyashanti. Having gone on multiple silent retreats with both John and Adyashanti, and holding a years-long daily siting practice, Aaron’s calling is to continue to deepen in silence and stillness, and help others to tune into it in daily life.
One result of this calling is the merging of these two great loves, meditation and music, creating a rich exploration into the use of meditation in musical performance and in the lives of musicians. This led to an article Aaron published in 2018 entitled, “Creativity Through Silence: Exploring the Use of Meditation in Musical Performance,” and then to the creation of multiple meditation groups aimed at helping students, faculty, and staff at the Thornton School of Music in USC. Because this is a very new field of research, the process of discovery is still very much alive for Aaron, as he discovers, in himself and with others, what happens when music comes from the awake, silent, and heartfelt presence of being.