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Michael Colgrass (b4/22/1932)

Michael Colgrass (b. 1932) began his musical career as a jazz drummer in his native Chicago. Throughout his career Michael Colgrass has won many prestigious awards including the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Déjà vu, First Prize in the Barlow and Sudler International Wind Ensemble Competitions, and the 1988 Jules Leger Prize for Chamber Music. Following studies at the University of Illinois and two years as timpanist in the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart, Germany, he spent eleven years supporting his composing activities as a free-lance percussionist in New York City. The wide musical range of his performance experience has had a profound influence on his compositions, including Dream Dancer, composed in 2001. In the preface to the score, Colgrass wrote: “Dream Dancer is a fantasy about a musical instrument that feels attracted to various styles of music, trying to decide which one to play”. Throughout this piece, musical influences from the Mideast, Asia and America (especially jazz) play against each other. Of combining these various cultures, Colgrass says “The concept of mixing cultures in music is natural to me living in Toronto, perhaps the world’s most cosmopolitan city, which offers a rich palette of authentic folk music from around the world”.


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