Michael Colgrass (born 1932 in Chicago) is an American-born Canadian composer. He began his musical career as a percussionist and jazz drummer in Chicago and then New York. As a performer, he has had the pleasure of working with musical icons including Dizzie Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stravinsky, the New York Philharmonic, the American Ballet Theatre, and the original West Side Story Orchestra on Broadway. His composition teachers have included Darius Milhaud, Lukas Foss, Wallingford Riegger and Ben Weber. In 1978, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for Deja vu (the orchestral version) and in 1982 he received an Emmy Award for the documentary "Soundings: The Music of Michael Colgrass." He has also won the Barlow and Sudler Awards for Winds of Nagual.
Currently, Colgrass lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife Ulla, a journalist. They have one son, Neal, a screenwriter. Colgrass continues to work as a composer, also doing workshops internationally in performance technique and psychology. He has been commissioned by groups including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, the Lincoln Centre Chamber Music Society and the Brighton Festival in England.
Works for Winds
- Apache Lullaby
- Arctic Dreams
- The Beethoven Machine
- Deja Vu
- Dream Dancer
- Gotta Make Noise
- Mysterious Village
- Old Churches
- Urban Requiem
- Winds of Nagual
- Michael Colgrass - Official Website
- Clickard, Stephen. (2003). "Michael Colgrass." In: A Composer's Insight, Volume 1. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications. pp. 15–33.
- McCutchen, Mathew G. (2009) An Examination of the History and Winning Pieces of the National Band Association's Composition Contest: 1977-2008. Florida State University, Doctoral Dissertation.
- Riegel, Marcus L. (2008) An analytical and historical examination of six works for middle level wind band: Bells of freedom (grade 1) by David Gillingham, Rising star (grade 1) by Samuel R. Hazo, Achilles’ wrath (grade 2) by Sean O’Laughlin, Kenya contrasts (grade 2.5) by William Himes, On the wings of swallows (grade 3) by Michael Sweeney, and Old churches (grade 3) by Michael Colgrass. [Master's Thesis].