John Edward Hasse


John Edward Hasse is a museum curator, speaker, author, pianist, and leader in his field. For 33 years, he served as Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where he curated exhibitions on Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles, and founded the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Jazz Appreciation Month, now celebrated in all 50 states and in 40 countries. He is also a former Chairman of Smithsonian Music. Recently, he transitioned from Curator to Curator Emeritus—a lifetime honor—at the Smithsonian.

Active in cultural diplomacy for the US State Department, Hasse has lectured on leadership, the arts, and music in 20 countries on six continents. His keynote addresses and lectures appeal to a very broad range of audiences. He has spoken at Harvard University, UCLA and Georgetown University. The Kennedy Center, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Chicago Humanities Festival. The Cleveland Clinic, the American Academy of Nursing, Miami Children’s Hospital, and the Health Careers Foundation. State Farm, New York Life, and the World Bank. Leadership Florida and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. And US embassies and consulates in Berlin, Madrid, Prague, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Nairobi, and Johannesburg.

He is author of an acclaimed biography, Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington, with a Foreword by Wynton Marsalis, and editor of Jazz: The First Century, with Forewords by Quincy Jones and Tony Bennett. Hasse is co-author of Discover Jazz and co-producer/co-author of the Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology. He has contributed to The Washington Post and eight encyclopedias, and writes on music regularly for The Wall Street Journal.

As an expert on American music, he has been interviewed in The New York Times, on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, PBS, CNN, and many other news outlets.