Over the past 30 years, Michael Gordon has produced a strikingly diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles and major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio and kaleidoscopic works for groups of identical instruments.
This season, in addition to a new concert-length work, Road Trip for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, composed with David Lang and Julia Wolfe for Bang on a Can’s 30th Anniversary, Gordon sees premieres of his music in the US and abroad: a new arrangement of his opera Acquanetta, presented by the Prototype Festival in New York City; a new orchestral work for the Miami City Ballet, choreographed by Brian Brooks; and the German premiere of his piano concerto, The Unchanging Sea, performed by the MDR Symphony in Berlin with pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama.
Gordon’s recent works have included Big Space, commissioned and presented by the BBC Proms; a concert-length work for choir, Anonymous Man, commissioned and premiered by The Crossing, and three new works for orchestra — Natural History, written for the 100th Anniversary of the United States’ National Parks and premiered at Crater Lake in Oregon; Observations on Air, a concerto for bassoon for soloist Peter Whelan, commissioned by the British ensemble The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; and The Unchanging Sea, a piano concerto for Tomoko Mukaiyama with a new film by Bill Morrison.
His special interest in adding dimensionality to the traditional concert experience has led to numerous collaborations with artists in other media, most frequently with filmmaker Bill Morrison and Ridge Theater. His work Decasia, a large-scale, single-movement, relentlessly monumental work about decay — the decay of melody, tuning, and classical music itself — has become a cult favorite since its premiere in 2001, frequently performed at music festivals, art museums and film festivals around the world. Gordon and Morrison have also worked together on film symphonies centered on cities — Los Angeles: Dystopia (commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic); New York City: Gotham(commissioned by the ACO in New York City), and Miami Beach: El Sol Caliente (commissioned by the New World Symphony).
Gordon has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms, the Seattle Symphony, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Ensemble Modern, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, among many others. His music has been featured prominently in the dance works of Emio Greco, Wayne McGregor (for Stuttgart Ballet, Random Dance), Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Heinz Spoerli (for Zürich Ballet), and Ashley Page (for The Royal Ballet and The Scottish Ballet). He has been honored by the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the FCPA, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His recordings include Timber Remixed, Dystopia, Rushes, Timber, Weather, Light is Calling, Decasia, (purgatorio) POPOPERA, Van Gogh, Trance, and Big Noise from Nicaragua.
Gordon is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can. His music is published by Red Poppy Music (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc.
Articles by Michael Gordon:
Scientists say that black holes are so dense with matter that light isn’t able to escape. Such fierce density is theorized but not experienced. Imagine a sound that is the...