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Michael Gandolfi

Cambridge, MA      

Michael Gandolfi has a broad range of musical interests encompassing not only contemporary concert music but also jazz, blues and rock, by which route he first became a musician. The span of his musical investigation is paralleled by his cultural curiosity, resulting in many points of contact between the world of music and other disciplines, including science, film, and theater.

Seven recent works by Mr. Gandolfi were premiered over the last two seasons: The Cosmic Garden in Bloom (2016), by the Grant Park Orchestra under the direction of Carlos Kalmar;  Ascending Light (2014), for organ and orchestra by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andris Nelsons, with Olivier Latry, soloist; Imaginary Numbers (2015), a concerto for four soloists and orchestra, by the Atlanta Symphony orchestra under the direction of Robert Spano, with the ASO’s orchestra principals as soloists; Winding Up/Winding Down (2014), a serenade for clarinet and wind ensemble by several co-commissioner ensembles, Carroll in Numberland (2015), a work for Dawn Upshaw, three ‘back-up’ singers, and chamber ensemble at the Tanglewood Music Center; Paula’s Piece (2016), by the Atlanta Chamber Players; and Sinfonia Brevis (2016), by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Mei-Ann Chen.

Mr. Gandolfi has worked closely with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as one of its ‘Atlanta School’ of composers, which has resulted in the creation of five new orchestral works (and the performances of many others), as well as a 2007 Meet the Composer/American Symphony Orchestra League ‘Music Alive’ residency with them.  As an ‘Atlanta School’ designate, Mr. Gandolfi has participated in numerous outreach and audience-building events.  He has also worked very closely with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which has included several commissions, culminating in a 2015 organ concerto premiere (Ascending Light), under the direction of Andris Nelsons with organ soloist Olivier Latry.  Maestro Nelsons has scheduled the piece for two performances with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in June 2017, to which Mr. Gandolfi has been invited to work with the orchestra and organ soloist, Michael Schönheit.  Mr. Gandolfi has worked very closely with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Mei-Ann Chen, completing several commissions, including Fourth Chickasaw Variations, an orchestral work based on the history of Memphis, and a work that the MSO has performed in each of their seasons since its premiere in 2013.  Most recently, his Sinfonia Brevis, a two-movement work for orchestra was premiered by the MSO under the direction of Maestro Chen in the spring of 2016.  Mr. Gandolfi was also a mentor in the American Composer Orchestra’s Earshot program with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra as host in 2009.

Mr. Gandolfi has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission grants, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission, Massachusetts Cultural Council Composer Fellowship, the 2009 Grammy Award nomination for ‘Best Classical Contemporary Composition,’ for his The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, the 2013 Sousa/Oswald Award for Band, two Fromm Foundation Grants, a Meet the Composer/American Symphony Orchestra league Music Alive residency, and a 2013 Composers Award from the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Mr. Gandolfi’s extensive discography includes The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, (Telarc, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Robert Spano, conductor) inspired by Charles Jencks’ spectacular private garden in Dumfries, Scotland.  It earned a 2009 Grammy nomination for ’Best Classical Contemporary Composition.’  His BMOP Sound recording Y2k Compliant was cited by the New York Times as a ‘Best CD of 2008,’ and his From the Institutes of Groove (BMOP Sound) received the Boston Globe’s ‘Best Album of 2013’ distinction.  Other works are recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon, Telarc, ASO Media, BSO Classics, Reference Recordings, Foghorn Classics, CRI, Innova, Klavier and BMOP Sound labels.

Mr. Gandolfi chairs the composition department at the New England Conservatory of Music, is Head of Composition at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has been a faculty member at Harvard University, Indiana University, and Boston University.

The Cosmic garden in Bloom

live recording of premiere performance -FOR ARCHIVAL USE ONLY
The Cosmic Garden in Bloom (2016)
I. Octagonia / II. The Comet Bridge
The Grant Park Orchestra – Carlos Kalmar, cond.
The Grant Park Festival, Prizker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, August 5, 2016

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The Cosmic Garden in Bloom (score)

PDF of score