Browse more profiles
John Nastos
John Nastos

Jazz Saxophone Instructor

Office: LH 243C

Multi-instrumentalist John Nastos was born and raised in Portland, Oregon,
where he found his love of music while exploring the vibrant local music

Before graduating from high school, John enrolled at Portland State
University, where he studied with Alan Jones, Darrell Grant, and other
Portland jazz luminaries. During that same year, he started performing with
the Mel Brown Septet, the Gordon Lee Big Band, and other professional
Portland groups.

In 2004, Nastos graduated from high school and moved to New York City
on a scholarship to study jazz at the acclaimed Manhattan School of Music.
At MSM, John studied saxophone and composition with Dick Oatts (Thad
Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra), Bob Mintzer (Yellowjackets), Steve Wilson
(Chick Corea), and Mike Abene (WDR Big Band). In 2007, John completed
the four-year degree program in just three years.

Since returning to Portland, John has performed with the who’s who of the
Portland scene, including the Mel Brown Septet, the Bobby Torres
Ensemble, the Oregon Symphony, the Third Angle New Music Ensemble,
Darrell Grant’s On the Territory, and the Damian Erskine Project. He has
recorded with the Chuck Israels Orchestra, Intervision, Ben Darwish’s
Commotion, the Jessie Marquez, and others.

Nastos’s composition, arranging, and compositional skills have been
commissioned for performances and recordings by Damian Erskine, the
Bobby Torres Ensemble, the Art Abrams Swing Machine, and Pink Martini
(for performances with the San Francisco Symphony and other orchestras
around the world).

He has toured extensively with Grammy-winning vocalist Dianne Schuur,
playing performances with her in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He
has also toured with the Grammy-winning artist Esperanza Spalding.
In 2011, Nastos programmed and released an innovative new metronome
app called Metronomics, which is now used by thousands of musicians
around the world. Metronomics was followed up in 2015 with a sister app
called Harmonomics, which focuses on ear training exercises, and 2017 with
PitchCenter, an innovative tuning application.

He has authored and released two books in his ongoing series “The
Mechanism.” The first, titled An Improvisation Overview is a quick primer
for students on some of the fundamental elements required to practice and
learn improvisation. The second, titled Pentatonic Patterns, is a set of over
1200 pentatonic patterns designed to expand an improviser’s repertoire.
Nastos is currently on faculty at Portland State University, and maintains a
busy performing, recording, and teaching schedule around the Portland

John Nastos performs on: soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones,
Bb and bass clarinets, flute, alto flute, piccolo, and EWI (Electronic Wind