Dr. John Edward Hasse is a music historian, pianist, and award-winning author and record producer. He serves as Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where he was founding Executive Director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, an acclaimed big band, and where he founded the national Jazz Appreciation Month, celebrated every April throughout the U.S.
Hasse is the author of a critically acclaimed biography, Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington, with a Foreword by Wynton Marsalis, and the editor of a major illustrated history, Jazz: The First Century, with Forewords by Tony Bennett and Quincy Jones. Library Journal called the book “a major contribution to the understanding of jazz.”
At the Smithsonian, Hasse was co-Director of America’s Jazz Heritage, a 10-year, $7-million partnership with the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. He led the Institution’s efforts to acquire the 200,000-page Duke Ellington archive, and curated the traveling exhibition Beyond Category: The Musical Genius of Duke Ellington, which toured to 12 museums and 50 libraries. He also led the museum’s initiative to acquire the archives of Ella Fitzgerald, and co-curated the exhibition Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song.
He is editor of Ragtime: Its History, Composers, and Music; producer-annotator of the two-CD set Beyond Category: The Musical Genius of Duke Ellington; and producer author of the book and three disc set The Classic Hoagy Carmichael. Hasse is a contributor to seven encyclopedias. Hasse earned a B.A. Cum Laude at Carleton College, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University, and in 2001 Walsh University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. He also holds a Certificate in Business Administration from The Wharton School, and formerly worked in marketing management for Procter & Gamble.
He served as the principal advisor to the U.S. Postal Service on its stamp series Legends of American Music that began with Elvis Presley. He has earned two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in writing on music, and two Grammy Award nominations. A talented educator, he is a popular lecturer and recitalist. He has presented programs throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, and Asia.
As an expert on 20th century American music, he has been interviewed on television (CNN, Headline News, PBS, CBS’ Sunday Morning, Entertainment Tonight, etc.), on radio (National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition, the Voice of America, BBC, etc.), and in newspapers (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, etc.).