Guerino Mazzola
Uster, 02/02/1947
University of Minnesota
School of Music

Guerino Mazzola earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Zurich University, where he also qualified as a professor in algebraic geometry with Peter Gabriel and in computational science with Peter Stucki.
Mazzola has profiled the European school of mathematical music theory since 1980 and has written ten books on the subject, among them The Topos of Music, published by Birkhäuser, and proposed by the American Mathematical Society as the mathematics book of the year 2005. His French book, La vérité du beau dans la musique, is about the philosophy of music and was published in 2007 by Delatour. Mazzola’s approach to music includes sophisticated mathematics of topos theory, but also classical tools from group theory to homotopy theory. His book Flow, Gesture, and Spaces in Free Jazz - Towards a Theory of Collaboration was published in 2009 by Springer and applies mathematical gesture theory to free jazz. His book Musical Performance was published in 2010 by Springer; it is the first comprehensive treatment of performance theory, including philosophical and empirical approaches, qualitative methods from musical ontology, and quantitative methods from differential geometry and their implementation in the performance software rubato. His latest book Musical Creativity was published in 2011 by Springer; it is co-authored with Joomi Park and Florian Thalmann and describes creativity in a tutorial for students, a theoretical part and a number of advanced case studies.Mazzola’s research addresses the integration of (1) classical symbolic thinking, (2) transformational theory using category theory and (3) gestures in music. Such ideas have been operationalized in the composition program Presto (, as well as the Java program Rubato, for analysis, composition, and performance. The latter is open source and in continuing development ( academia (he has written more than 113 scientific papers), Mazzola is an internationally acclaimed free jazz pianist, who has recorded with saxophonist Rob Brown, guitarist Scott Fields, violinist Mat Maneri and bassist Sirone, among others. His 24 recordings were published by Cadence Jazz, Wergo, Silkheart, Music & Arts, Creative Works, and BlackSaint. Mazzola has been described as a Jackson Pollock of free jazz. Besides jazz, he has published a classical sonata, has written an opera libretto, music scores for movies and is the main featured performer in a 90-minute documentary about free jazz and Indonesian music culture.For his unifying efforts between science and culture, Mazzola was rewarded the medal of the Mexican Mathematical Society in 2000. He has lead a number of research projects of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Hassler Foundation, the Cogito Foundation, the Art Mentor Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation and the Swiss Virtual Campus Initiative. In 2006, he was elected member of the philosophical laboratory of Charles Alunni at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, and is a member of the research organization IRCAM in Paris since 1999. In 2007 he was elected Funding President of The Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music (SMCM). He is also the chief Editor of the new Springer book series Computational Music Science.
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