Recipient of our
2014 Composer's Award
Described by Gramophone as creating exuberant performances of irrepressibly melodic, profoundly delightful music, Michael Gandolfi can’t help but write music that pleases the ear. His earliest musical involvement began at age eight as a self-taught guitarist delighting in rock and jazz improvisation. As his improvisational skills developed he became increasingly interested in music composition and began formal study in his early teens.
He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, as well as fellowships for study at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art, the Composers Conference, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Mr. Gandolfi is the recipient of numerous awards including grants from the Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Many leading ensembles including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project have performed his music.
His Garden of the Senses Orchestral Suite in Three Parts premiered with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Robert Spano, conducting, and later became the first recording of a major orchestral work by Mr. Gandolfi, The garden in question is not just a fantasy but exists as such in Southern Scotland. The creation of an American architect, Charles Jenicks, the Garden employs features suggested by wave theory, subatomic particles, the diversity of DNA, string theory, the Big Bang and expansion of our universe; it is full of unusual features, earthworks and sculpture which are intended to act as metaphors for modern science’s discoveries about human life and the physics of our universe. Mr. Gandolfi has transposed those visual symbols into aural, musical ones and has added movements to his suite just as Jenicks added new features to his garden. Like the garden which is ever-changing, the music is in segments that can be rearranged, added to, or subtracted from, intending that conductors can select and order their own assembly of movements, “choosing their own pathway thru the garden.”
Hear Michael Gandolfi’s expansive composition The Garden of Cosmic Speculation and meet our Composer’s Award honoree at a post-concert Meet the Musician’s reception.
About the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra's Annual Composer's Award
Established in 1959, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Composer’s Award is the oldest award of its kind in the nation. Its purpose is to recognize and honor contemporary composers who are making a particularly significant contribution in the field of symphonic music, not only through their own creative efforts but also as effective personal advocates of new approaches to the broadening of critical and appreciative standards. While the judgment of any creative work ultimately rests upon the artist, it is nevertheless true that, in music as in other arts, appreciation often stems from personal association. The appearance of an outstanding composer before the more than 2,500 patrons of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra generates not only greater interest in his work but also a more appreciative hearing of contemporary music.
The Composer's Award is given as the key feature of a program designed to encourage and actively develop a special interest in modern music and contemporary composers on the part of the audiences of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, to the end that this Pennsylvania community may serve as an example in the advancement of greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary music everywhere.
The award is made in connection with a regular concert by the Lancaster Symphony at which a representative work of the composer being honored is performed. In the acceptance of the award, the composer gives a short talk, summarizing his/her individual approach to musical composition.