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.”
Composer Michele Caniato writes chamber, orchestral, vocal, piano, and jazz music. His works have been performed nationally and internationally, including in the USA, Canada, Italy, Finland, and on Italian National Radio.
He is the winner of the 2019 Orchestra Composition Contest at the 53rd Contemporary Music Festival at Indiana State University, was a finalist in the BMI Foundation/Charlie Parker Composition Competition in New York, and semi-finalist for the American Prize, and has received Fulbright, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Jasper Whiting Foundation grants, and residencies at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (WY), and Escape to Create (FL).
Michele received a doctoral degree in composition from Boston University where he studied with Lukas Foss, and trained also at the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music. He has been a longtime member of the faculty at Fitchburg State University. Caniato is an ASCAP member and his music is distributed by Subito Music.
Michele Caniato is a Boston based composer who writes chamber, orchestral, vocal, piano, and jazz music. Described by colleagues and fellow musicians as “talented and imaginative,” and as “offering an almost ideal combination of artistic and scholarly interests,” Caniato brings to his compositions a deep-seated curiosity for sound, process, and diverse musical genres.
Caniato’s works have been performed nationally and internationally, including across the USA, in Canada, Italy, and Finland, with performances at venues ranging from Merkin Hall (New York City) to Buntrock Hall (Chicago) and numerous universities, conservatories, and festivals. He has garnered radio and press accolades, including from National Italian Radio and the Boston Globe, and many awards such as the 53rd Contemporary Music Festival Composition Contest at Indiana State University (2019), Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, Fulbright Scholar Award, and residencies at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (WY), Escape to Create (FL), and the Adria Conservatory (Italy).
Michele’s music reflects his evolving interests as well as his cumulative experiences: he lets his central love for composition, intellectual inquiry, and exciting music making inspire his choices and pursuits. While not an ardent self-promoter, his compassionate, inclusive, and equitable outlook makes him a go-to composer-conductor and scholar who attracts like-minded artists to a range of enriching musical pursuits.
Some of the performers he has worked with are bass James Demler, soprano Maria Ferrante, pianists Yelena Beriyeva, Julia Scott-Carey, and Pei-yeh Tsai, and violinist Klaudia Szlachta, harpist Franziska Huhn, Triton Brass Quintet, Juventas New Music Ensemble, the Freisinger and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestras, and the BMI New York Jazz Composers Orchestra. Among his recent works are the song cycle Three Songs on Poems by Stephen Crane, 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.
Michele’s endeavors beyond the studio are multifaceted. He has served on review panels for competitions and festivals and curated for many years the concert series Canti e Cantici at Fitchburg State University. His interests span early to contemporary music, jazz, and issues in composition, analysis, and conducting. He has presented papers, given talks, and conducted workshops at venues such as Indiana University-Terre Haute, Musicology International Conference Boston, Dutch-Flemish Society for Music Theory-Conservatory of Amsterdam, International Jazz Composers’ Symposium, and many others. His research is published by Scarecrow Press, Rowman and Littlefield, in conference proceedings, and has been deemed “essential reading” by Oxford Bibliographies Online.
Michele recently took a new direction into a full-time composing career, while continuing to teach a limited amount of composition. A longtime mentor and colleague captures his evolving musical and personal journey: “I find Miki’s trajectory to be an astonishing story and example of the human spirit, the need and desire to ‘reinvent’ yourself, and the will to succeed.”
Michele had the fortune of working with a number of outstanding teachers in composition, conducting, voice, piano, and woodwinds. He 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 where his main mentor was Grammy Award winning arranger Bob Freedman.
He currently sings with The Seraphim Singers in Boston, and is a member of ASCAP, Society of Composers INC, and the American Composers Forum. His music is distributed by Subito Music, Verona, NJ.