b.1932, USA

Michael Colgrass graduated from the University of Illinois in 1954 in percussion performance.  He freelanced in New York City with the New York Philharmonic, Dizzy Gillespie, West Side Story on Broadway and the Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky series at Columbia Records, among many others.

Commissions include the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony and orchestras and chamber groups throughout North America.

He gives workshops in performance for professionals and creativity for children. His method of teaching graphic notation to children has been adopted into the junior high curriculum for Nova Scotia. Colgrass is the author of My Lessons With Kumi, a narrative/exercise book for performers, and Adventures of an American Composer, an autobiography of anecdotes.

He lives and works as a composer in Toronto (Canada).

Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
05/21/2008 Pan Trio Listen Close

In considering what other group of instruments would best complement the pan’s idiosyncratic timbre, Colgrass decided to emphasize its warmth and its sustain with harp, marimba, vibraphone, and other small percussion instruments. The result is an immense palette of musical colours not found in more conventional ensembles.