In considering my relationship to the words of Katharine Lee Bates, I reflected on my own good fortune, and the journey that led me to where I am today. In my variation, the melody emerges gradually, like a dream slowly coming into focus.
The works of Michael Gilbertson have been described as “elegant” and “particularly beautiful” by The New York Times, “vivid, tightly woven” and “delectably subtle” by the Baltimore Sun, “genuinely moving” by the Washington Post, and “a compelling fusion of new and ancient” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gilbertson is the BMI Composer in Residence with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and is a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Quartet.
Gilbertson holds degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied composition with Samuel Adler, John Corigliano, and Christopher Rouse, and from Yale where he studied with Aaron Jay Kernis, Martin Bresnick, David Lang, Ezra Laderman, Hannah Lash, Christopher Theofanidis, and Jeanine Tesori. His works have been programmed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Opera, Albany Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Virginia Opera, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Symphony in C, New England Philharmonic, Cheyenne Symphony, wind ensembles including The United States Marine Band, and professional choirs including Musica Sacra, The Crossing, Conspirare, and The Esoterics. Michael serves as the artistic director of ChamberFest Dubuque, an annual festival he founded in 2009 to support music education in his hometown of Dubuque, Iowa.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon