Michael Gandolfi's earliest musical involvement was in rock and jazz improvisation beginning at age eight as a self-taught guitarist. As his improvisational skills developed he became increasingly interested in music composition and began formal study in his early teens.
He received the B.M. and M.M. 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.
Mr. Gandolfi recently completed Impressions from "The Garden of Cosmic Speculation", which was premiered in August 2005 by Robert Spano and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and was subsequently performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Zinman. He also recently completed a new work for young audiences, the Piper's Tale, an adaptation of The Pied Piper, words by Dana Bonstrom, that was premiered by the Boston Musica Viva with Bob McGrath, narrator. In April 1999 the New Millennium Ensemble with David Margulies, narrator at New York's Merkin Concert Hall, premiered Mr. Gandolfi's Pinocchio's Adventures in Funland, written for young audiences. It was commissioned by the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center on a text by Dana Bonstrom. It subsequently received over sixty performances, including those by the Boston Musica Viva, the Santa Barbara Symphony Chamber Players at the Ojai Festival, The Tanglewood Music Center, the Andover Chamber Music Society, and the Portland Chamber Music Festival. It received its European premiere in 2000 in Portugal by the Remix Ensemble. The Concord Symphony Orchestra funded a full orchestration of the score and premiered the piece in that form, under the direction of Richard Pittman, during their 2000/2001 season.
In the summer of 2001, Mr. Gandolfi wrote music for the Shakespeare and Company's production of a Midsummer Night's Dream, under the direction of Tina Packer. A concert adaptation of that score Themes from a Midsummer Night was premiered at Jordan Hall in the fall of 2001. Later that year, Mr. Gandolfi teamed-up again with Dana Bonstrom for a project commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Education Division. The resulting work Gwendolyn Gets Her Wish was premiered in April 2002, and will be performed in the Los Angeles public schools as the cornerstone of a five-year arts-in-education initiative.
Mr. Gandolfi recently completed Vientos y Tangos for wind ensemble, co-commissioned by a consortium of fifteen wind ensembles, in celebration of Frank Battisti's seventieth birthday, which is now published by Boosey and Hawkes as part of their Windependence Series.
Mr Gandolfi is completing commissions from the St. Botolph Club for a new work to be premiered in October 2005 by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the Michael Vyner Trust (a piano concerto), Collage New Music, Fromm Foundation (a saxophone concerto for Kenneth Radnovsky and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, 2006), and Boston-based pianist Duncan Cumming.
His music has been recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon and CRI labels. He is a faculty member of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center. He was a visiting lecturer on music at Harvard University in 2002, and held a similar position there from 1996-1999. He is listed in the New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians.