Michael Gandolfi – New England Conservatory
I have personally seen Michael Gandolfi teach students of mine – he is an exceptionally deep thinker and composer who has a unique way of connecting with his students.
A long-time faculty member at New England Conservatory, his work has been performed throughout the country by major orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and the Houston Symphony.
Gandolfi is classified, according to conductor Robert Spano, in the “Atlanta School of Composers,” which includes Osvaldo Golijov (faculty at College of the Holy Cross), Christopher Theofanidis (faculty at Yale), Jennifer Higdon (faculty at Curtis), and Adam Schoenberg (faculty at Occidental College).
Recommended Listening: Check out his excellent orchestral work The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, a beautiful piece notable for its sample of live bird sounds.
Ellen Taafe Zwilich – Florida State University
Composer Ellen Zwilich is a longtime faculty member of the Florida State University School of Music. Notably, she was the first female recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in Music 37 years ago in 1983 for her Symphony No. 1.
Her repertoire changed dramatically throughout her career – in her early years, she wrote more dense, “atonal” music. Later, she shifted to neo-romanticism, and it was this latter style that helped bring her to the forefront of classical music.
Her work has been commissioned by many of the nation’s most prominent ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic. In 1999, Musical America, the nation’s oldest publication on classical music, voted her Composer of the Year.
Recommended Listening: Violin Concerto – a 2005 Naxos recording is available on Spotify.
Mark Anthony-Turnage – Royal College of Music London
I don’t write much – yet – about schools outside the US, however Mark Anthony-Turnage is very deserving of a list like this.
Known for his provocative vocal works, one of his more recent pieces is Anna Nicole, an opera about American model Anna Nicole Smith.
Dr. Anthony-Turnage is a well-known figure in Britain – in 2015, he was ordered the mark of CBE, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for his contribution to music. Only a relatively small number of British composers have received this royal honor.
Recommended Listening: His double violin concerto Violin Walker is a good example of his musical style.
Featured image by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons