Writing music is a privilege that connects me to exceptional composers and performers of the past and present. The dialogue with these great minds and souls through listening to their music, reading their scores, and at times working with them in person, is a source of pleasure and discovery, and gives me the feeling of belonging to a community of musicians, spread across continents and over centuries.

My stimulus to write music comes from listening to internal and external sounds, being asked, collaborating with performers, and by elaborating a vision in my mind linked to an emotional impulse felt in my body.

An essential bond unites composer, performer, and audience. I treasure what each contributes: the craft and imagination to work and create, the collaboration with performers and conductors who infuse the piece with their humanity and musicianship, and the thrill of an engaged audience hearing the music and participating in that shared experience.

There are times when magic happens during a particular performance or during the process of composition. These occurrences cannot be conjured up on command. They are fleeting moments that are part of a lifelong engagement and make the quest of making music real and worthwhile. I try to be open to those magic moments, they come and go, most people know when they happen. They have as much to do with human connection as with the world of sound and time that music creates.

It is humbling to work at something that is to some degree unknown, and has a life of its own.

I can relate to what Picasso said: “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” and the quote by Glenn Gould “The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.”


Brief bio

Composer Michele Caniato writes chamber, orchestral, vocal, and piano music. He also has expertise in jazz orchestra composition and conducting. His works have been performed nationally and internationally, including across the USA, Canada, Italy, Finland, and on Italian National Radio.

Among his recent works are the orchestral piece Introduzione e Siciliana, the woodwind dectet Landscapes, the piano piece Fleeting, and the cantata Fiori Francescani on text by St. Francis of Assisi. Some of the performers he has worked with are bass James Demler, soprano Maria Ferrante, pianists Pei-yeh Tsai and Yelena Beriyeva, violinist Klaudia Szlachta, harpist Franziska Huhn, Triton Brass, the Freisinger and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestras, and the BMI New York Jazz Composers Orchestra.

Caniato has received Fulbright, Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist and Jasper Whiting Foundation grants, residencies at Escape to Create (FL), and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (WY). He is the winner of the 53rd Contemporary Music Festival Composition Contest, Indiana University (2019), was a finalist in the BMI Foundation/Charlie Parker Composition Competition in New York, and a semi-finalist in the American Prize-orchestra division.

Michele has a doctoral degree in composition from Boston University where he studied with Lukas Foss, Richard Cornell, and Marjorie Merryman, and also studied composition at the New England Conservatory with William Thomas McKinley and conducting with Frank Battisti. He earned a double major B.M. in performance and arranging from Berklee College of Music.

Caniato currently sings with The Seraphim Singers in Boston. He is a member of ASCAP, the Society of Composers Inc., and the American Composers Forum. His music is distributed by Subito Music, Verona, NJ.