Michael Gandolfi was born into a musical family in which his two older sisters, both accomplished pianists, were actively performing traditional classical repertoire. Concurrent with this exposure was a keen interest in the worlds of rock and jazz music. He developed improvisational skills at age eight as a self taught guitarist, and took formal study in music composition. He earned his degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and received fellowships from the Yale Summer School of Music and Art, the Composers Conference and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Mr. Gandolfi has received grants from the NEA, Meet the Composer, Barlow, Guggenheim, Koussevitsky and Fromm foundations and has been performed by the Boston, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, London BBC, and BBC Scottish symphony orchestras, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Orpheus, Los Angeles and St. Paul chamber orchestras, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, The President’s Own United States Marine Band, The Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Speculum Musica, Boston Musica Viva, and Collage New Music, among others.
In the spring of 2007, as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Composer in residence, Mr. Gandolfi’s The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, inspired by Charles Jencks’ spectacular private garden in Dumfries, Scotland, was commissioned and premiered by Robert Spano and the ASO. It earned a 2009 Grammy nomination for ’Best Classical Contemporary Composition.’ The work is an expansion of his Impressions from ‘The Garden of Cosmic Speculation,’ commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center in 2004. His 2008 BMOP Sound recording ‘Y2k Compliant’ was cited by the New York Times as a ‘Best CD of 2008.’ Mr. Gandolfi’s music has been recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon, Telarc, CRI, Innova, Klavier and BMOP Sound labels. He currently chairs the composition department at the New England Conservatory of Music, serves on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center, and is a visiting faculty at Harvard University (2008/09) and Indiana University (fall term 2008). He is listed in the New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians.