Writing music is a privilege that connects me to exceptional composers and performers of the past and present. I dialogue with these great minds and souls through listening to their music, reading their scores, and at times working with them in person. This 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, collaborating with performers, and by elaborating a vision in my mind and addressing an emotional grappling felt in my body. I enjoy the flight of imagination that brings ideas, the craft that is necessary to capture them in tangible form, as well as the excitement of readings and rehearsals, and the thrill of hearing performers share this process with an audience.

I am also nurtured by the inspiration and shared emotional space the sister arts bring. My love of poetry and language fuels my vocal music, and collaborations with live dance and visual art events have brought me great joy. I am spurred by the quest to tangle with universal elements of existence such as loss, love, time, belonging, celebration, nature, and everything that means to be alive and human.

I have worked with singers, instrumentalists, and conductors, across many genres and feel that, if the music comes through with flying colors, the circle expands: the icing on the cake is when someone in the audience is truly moved and transformed by the music.

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.”

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


Brief bio

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.


Long bio

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), the Adria Conservatory (Italy), Obras Foundation for the Arts (Portugal), and the Visby International Centre for Composers (Sweden).

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 inclusive and compassionate 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, sopranos Maria Ferrante and Claire Vangelisti, pianists Yelena Beriyeva, Julia Scott-Carey, and Pei-yeh Tsai, 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 Syracuse University, 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 is a member of ASCAP, Society of Composers INC, and the American Composers Forum. His music is distributed by Subito Music, Verona, NJ.