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.


Moonshine Room at Club Café | April 30, 2013
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | April 14, 2013
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 6, 2011
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 17, 2009
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 25, 2008
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 20, 2007
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 17, 2004
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 18, 2003
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | June 17, 2000
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | May 8, 1999

News and Press

[Concert Review] Bolcom, BMOP, and the graceful ghost of Ligeti

I’m late with my thoughts on the Boston Modern Orchestra Project‘s “Bolcom with BMOP” evening last Sunday. Which may have something to do with the fact that I was slightly, but not entirely, disappointed by the program. I was drawn to the concert because I’m a fan of its eponymous star, the distinguished American composer William Bolcom - or at least I’m a huge fan (like many people) of his piano and vocal music (a favorite selection, “The Poltergeist,” above).

The Hub Full review
[Concert Review] Boston Modern revels in conservatory connection

That rather gaudy sign in Jordan Hall reading “New England Conservatory” is intended to remind audiences of the institution where this acoustic jewel is located. Rarely is its presence so apt as during the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s annual “Boston ConNECtion” concert, recognizing the ongoing relationship between the ensemble and the school. The 11th such performance, on Saturday, was a typically substantial affair, dexterously played by the ensemble and conducted with authority by Gil Rose.

The Boston Globe Full review
[News Coverage] Independent labels embrace a D.I.Y. ethos

The major classical recording labels, a few notable exceptions aside, seemed determined to continue their march toward irrelevance and oblivion this year. For independent outfits the prognosis was better: The budget-priced Naxos reigned supreme, while hardy concerns like Hyperion, Kairos, Testament and Bridge produced invaluable offerings. But some of the most robust activity in 2008 involved labels operated by those with the most to gain: musicians, orchestras, composers.

The New York Times Full review
[CD Review] Fanfare reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant

Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) teaches at Tanglewood, so it is reasonable that his music should appear on the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s label. This band, under its music director and conductor Gil Rose, is dedicated to the performance and promotion of contemporary American music. The members have successfully recorded several CDs for other companies, but this program and a recording of John Harbison’s ballet Ulysses are the inaugural releases on their home label. The fact has been a while in the offing. Well, it is here now, and the results are brilliant.

Fanfare Full review
[CD Review] American Record Guide reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant

Three orchestral works by Michael Gandolfi, composer of The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (M/J 2008). In his highly useful notes, Robert Kirzinger knights Gandolfi “master of innumerable compositional approaches”, purveyor of a technical and stylistic smorgasbord that will at least partly please everybody. As with Cosmic Speculation, there is great skill on display, though what this display of variety adds up to is anybody’s guess.

American Record Guide Full review
[CD Review] The New York Times reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant

MICHAEL GANDOLFI’S music has some of the rigor of the mid-20th-century atonalists, but it also draws on the richness of melody and timbre prized by the neo-Romantics. You would not put his work firmly in either category, and that’s probably for the best, since much of its appeal is in the ease with which it moves between those poles. One moment you’re taken with its braininess, its structural logic and textural intricacy; the next you’re struck by the flow of fresh ideas, vivid orchestration and rhythmic vitality, all of which give it a visceral punch.

The New York Times Full review
[CD Review] MUSO reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant

The Y2K doomsday scenario and all its associated satire had grown tiresome long before 1999 was up. Neverthless, this hasn’t stopped composer Michael Gandolfi revisiting the topic with his latest release Y2K Compliant.

MUSO Full review
[CD Review] Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant CD review

[5/5 stars]

This is a wonderful collection of pieces. Although all 3 pieces are unique, they compliment each other well musically and thematically. A set of music that provides a welcome hour of enjoyment. Overall the CD has a variety of styles that each work for the individual pieces.

Amazon Full review
[CD Review] CLOFO reviews Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant


The music of American composer Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) is the subject of another winning release from BMOP/sound (see the newsletter of 15 April 2008). Many will remember this composer for his large, extended orchestral work The Garden of Cosmic Speculation released last year, but here we have three of his smaller-scale pieces. If anything, they show he can do even more with less, and is a master colorist in the best sense of the term.

Classical Lost and Found Full review
[Press Release] BMOP/sound releases Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant

BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, announces the release of its second album, Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant. Known for his rhythmically buoyant, complex and colorful works, Gandolfi, a faculty member of New England Conservatory, is a master of innumerable compositional approaches, all evident in the disc's three pieces.

Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP explores many faces of modern music

Friday’s wide-ranging Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert demonstrated how unhelpfully vague the umbrella term “modern music” can be. Some New England Conservatory link was the only correspondence among the disparate works, gathered under the title “Boston ConNECtion” (and performed under Jordan Hall’s architecturally ill-mannered “New England Conservatory” signboard, which continues to intrude on the season’s concert experience like a dinner-time telemarketer).

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Country for old men

BMOP has become so popular, you have to look hard in the program to find its full name: Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Founder Gil Rose and his outstanding ensemble celebrated their 10th season at the New England Conservatory on Friday with their annual concert devoted to Boston composers. An enthusiastic and diverse audience (diverse especially in age) cheered, whistled, and hooted its approval for pieces, including two world premieres, by five composers also diverse in age. All the pieces were lively and (unlike Gerontius) fun.

Full review
[Concert Review] A Boston connection with style

Now in its 10th season, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project is a vibrant presence on the city’s new music scene, a group with omnivorous musical appetites and impressive collective chops. Its calendar this season is crowded with contemporary music, from the avant-garde of France to the avant-garde of New Jersey. But once a year, BMOP tunes its questing ears to the music produced specifically by local composers, or at least those with local ties. The group’s annual “Boston Connection” program took place Saturday night in Jordan Hall.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Press Release] BMOP announces 10th anniversary season

BMOP announces that its 10th anniversary season will open on November 3, 2006 at Jordan Hall. For 10 years BMOP has been Boston's only orchestra dedicated exclusively to performing and recording new music. Led by founding Artistic Director Gil Rose, BMOP is considered to be the premier orchestra for new music in the country.

Full review