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Biography

The music of Michael Gatonska (1967; Norwood, MA, United States) has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Polish Radio Orchestra of Kraków, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago-Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Ossia Chamber Orchestra, String Orchestra of New York City (SONYC), the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Helix, Locrian Chamber Players, Absolute Ensemble, the Radom Chamber Orchestra, Trio Lorien and Kwartet DAFO among others. Praised by critics for his “warm masterful orchestration,” “imaginative textures” and “exceptional stunning moments,” he has been described as a composer with “a gift that commands respect and attention.” Joshua Kosman from the San Francisco Chronicle writes “[But] Gatonska’a orchestral writing is so evocative and surprising that it’s impossible to resist.”


He has received numerous awards for his compositions including the 2017 Krzysztof Penderecki International Composer Competition ‘Arboretum’, 1st and 2nd Prizes in the 2016 Sinfonietta Cracovia ‘Sinfonietta for Sinfonietta’ Composer Competition, a 2013 Akrai Fellowship, 1st Place in the 2012 American Prize for his orchestral composition The Whispering Wind, and fellowship, commissions and grant awards from the Civitella Ranieri, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Chicago Symphony First Hearing Award, the Craig and Janet Swann Composition Prize, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, the American Music Center, Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Roberts Foundation, the Hoeschler Foundation, the Underwood/ACO Commission, a MATA Festival Commission, NYSCA, the Connecticut Commission on Art, the Field, the Mary Cary Flagler Charitable Trust and he is a MacDowell Colony Fellow. In 2010, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Field of Arts by the Connecticut Valley Education Foundation. His music has been recorded and issued on Albany Records, New World Records, Major Who Media, the American Composers Orchestra Digital Downloads Series, DUX Record Producers (Poland) and the Einstein Records labels. As a sound artist he was awarded a 2013 Akrai Fellowship to record sound signatures in Palazzolo Acreide, Sicily, and in 2014 the Art!Climate CEIartE sound art Open Category Award.

Conductors Osmo Vänskä, Marin Alsop, Carl St. Clair, Brad Lubman, Kristjan Järvi, Mischa Santora, Jurek Dybal, Paul Lustig Dunkel, Michael Lewanski, Dawid Runtz and other new music champions have conducted his works. He has composed solo works for the pianist Kathleen Supove, the violinist Mari Kimura, the electric-cellist Jeffrey Krieger, the percussionist Julie Licata, and for the flautist Paul Lustig Dunkel.

His music has been performed at festivals around the world including the Emanations Festival (Poland), the Sinfonietta Festival (Poland), the HNMFestival (Hartford), the International Kraków International Composers Festival (Poland), the Teagu Festival of Contemporary Music (South Korea), the Festival Internacional de Musica Contemporanea (Colombia), UTAS Festival (Australia), the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Tribeca New Music Festival, the MATA Festival, New Music Miami, Piano Spheres—Exploring Music of Our Time (Los Angeles), the CSN New Music Festival (Las Vegas), the Kosciuszko Foundation Chamber Music Series (NYC), and at REAL Art Ways (Hartford).

Michael received a doctorate from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. He studied music composition with Krzysztof Penderecki, Marek Stachowski, and Zbigniew Bujarski at the Academy of Music in Kraków, Poland, and with Elias Tanenbaum and Aaron J. Kernis at the Manhattan School of Music. He has taught music at the Hoff-Barthelson Music School and he has served as faculty on the Facultad de Artes at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a member of ASCAP and the Zwiazek Kompozytorów Polskich (ZKP).


 [But] Gatonska’a orchestral writing is so evocative and surprising that it’s impossible to resist.

   -Joshua Kosman, Music Critic, San Francisco

 

“Gatonska’s ‘The Whispering Wind’ may have been the best.  It builds from a rustle to a fumbling menagerie, with clumped and jagged harmonies, blaring circus brass and thrusting plastic rhythms out of free jazz.”       - Richard Scheinin, Music Critic, San Jose Mercury News

 

Michael Gatonska's ‘Transformation of the Hummingbird’ is the closest of the four works to the textural experiments of today's avant-garde, but none of its gestures sound gratuitous, and its imaginative textures consistently captivate.      -Classics Today.com --David Hurwitz

‘Sugar Maple Cosmica’ for Flute and un-pitched percussion: There were exceptional moments, especially a stunning passage in which the alto flute, played extremely lightly and with great agility, perfectly matched the percussion.  Suddenly time stood still.  If Mr. Gatonska achieved that even for a minute in this full-scale work it means that his gift commands respect and attention.                     –2010 New Music Connoisseur

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