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.
Recent premieres include Ballet Ruse (2016) by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Benjamin Zander, Music Director, 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's extensive orchestral output is due in large part to the support and partnerships that he has had with many leading orchestras. For over a decade, he has worked closely with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as one of its ‘Atlanta School’ of composers, resulting in the creation of several large-scale works. In the mid 1990's Mr. Gandolfi began a long and productive relationship with with the Boston Symphony Orchestra that has included several commissions, the most recent of which is the aforementioned Ascending Light. He has also had a fruitful relationship with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Mei-Ann Chen, completing several commissions for them as well, including Fourth Chickasaw Variations, based on the history of Memphis. Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has proven to be a very significant force in Mr. Gandolfi's creative output, as has Richard Pittman and the Boston Musica Viva. In addition to his orchestral work, Mr. Gandolfi has contributed a body of wind ensemble work that has gained a significant position in that repertoire.
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.