Born in Venice, Italy, Michele Caniato grew up in an Anglo-Venetian household where classical music, gospel, opera, jazz, and plays were prominent. After studies in the arts and humanities at the lyceum Marco Polo and private studies in theory and solfege he worked for a decade as a saxophonist in various jazz and commercial groups, before moving to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music on a scholarship in jazz composition.

While attending Berklee he studied with many influential musicians such as Bill Pierce, Bob Freedman, Herb Pomeroy, John La Porta and Hal Crook. While still in school Caniato was writing for some of the outstanding area players such as Alan Dawson and Bill Pierce. After Berklee Caniato earned his doctorate at Boston University, where he studied composition with Lukas Foss, Marjorie Merryman, Charles Fussell, and Richard Cornell. He directed the university's combo and big band program for a decade, during and after his studies, while also pursuing conducting with Frank Battisti and Ken Kiesler.

By the mid '90s Caniato's concert music was performed nationally and internationally by musicians such as the Red Stick Saxophone Quartet, Alessandra Trentin, and Franziska Huhn, he had joined the Public Works new music collective at Harvard, and his music was performed on National Italian Radio. He was also a guest lecturer/conductor at the Adria Conservatory in Italy and composer in residence in the Weston, Massachusetts public schools.

While continuing to write compositions and arrangements for jazz musicians such as Andy McGee, Jeff Stout, Igor Butman, Diego Urcola, Shannon LeClaire, the Kendrick Oliver Big Band, Berklee Faculty Big Band, New England Conservatory Jazz Composers Big Band, and the 14th Coltrane Memorial Concert at Northeastern University, Caniato published various articles on jazz theory and repertoire in the Annual Review of Jazz Studies and the International Association of Jazz Educators Research journal. He joined the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in New York City in 2004 and wrote for the BMI New York Jazz Orchestra for the following five years.


Caniato has received numerous grants and awards such as a Fulbright Scholar Grant to Metropolia University, Helsinki, Finland (Fall 2011), the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Grant in Music Composition (2007), the Amelia Gallucci-Cirio Endowment Grant, Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Grant, Massachusetts Cultural Council Professional Development Grant and various Faculty Scholarship/Creative Awards and Leadership Awards at Fitchburg State University. He was a finalist for the 2007 BMI Foundation/Charlie Parker Composition Prize. His time is shared between composing, conducting, theory, and education.




©2011 Michele Caniato