Generally considered one of the finest composers of church music writing today, Gerald Near first studied theory and composition with Leslie Bassett, organ with Robert Glasgow, and conducting with Elizabeth Green, later returning for graduate study in orchestral conducting with Gustav Meier. He also studied composition with Dominick Argento and conducting with Thomas Lancaster at the University of Minnesota.
In 1982 Near was one of the first recipients of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship. That year also saw the performance of two commissioned works for the AGO National Convention in Washington, D.C.: the anthem, "Sing Alleluia Forth" and the "Short Festival Te Deum". The following year he moved to Dallas, where he was appointed organist/choirmaster and subsequently, Canon Precentor of St. Matthew's Cathedral (Episcopal). He is Director of Aureole Editions and resides in New Mexico.