Bruce Gaston received a Master Degree in Composition from University of Southern California in 1969. He later began studying the tradition of Piphat orchestra with Boonyong Kaetkong, and achieved the third and highest level of ordination in Thai Classical Music in 1989. (The only non-Thai ever to reach this level).
In 1982, Gaston founded Fong Naam (Siamese Music Ensemble) which has since achieved an international reputation for the high standard of its performances of Thai classical music both ancient and modern. Over the years, Gaston has produced (with Fong Naam) more than 30 CD’s of classical and modern Thai music. Bruce Gaston was appointed Music Director of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra in 1986. And from 1979 until 1995, he was a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University, teaching experimental music theatre and conducting the Chulalongkorn Symphony Orchestra.
During these years, he produced many multi-media shows for the Tourist Authority of Thailand, the Royal Palace and private companies. He also toured extensively with Fong Naam around the world. Bruce Gaston has been honored with the distinguished Silpathorn Award for his Contribution to music and skills which blend Western tunes with Thai classical music. The 67-year-old American, who has lived in Thailand for four decades, is the first non-Thai to win the award, conferred by the Ministry of Culture.