Michael Torke

born on 22/9/1961

Michael Torke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Michael Torke ( /trki/; born September 22, 1961) is an American composer who writes music influenced by jazz and minimalism.

Torke was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; he graduated from Wauwatosa East High School and studied at the Eastman School of Music with Joseph Schwantner and Christopher Rouse, and at Yale University.


Sometimes described[weasel words] as a post-minimalist, his most postminimal piece is Four Proverbs, in which the syllable for each pitch is fixed and variations in the melody produce streams of nonsense words. Other works in this style include Book of Proverbs and Song of Isaiah. An early piece where he first used a certain postminimalist style was Vanada, made in 1984. His most well known work is probably Javelin, which he composed in 1994, commissioned by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympics in celebration of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's 50th anniversary season, in conjunction with the 1996 Summer Olympics. Commissioned by Disney and Michael Eisner for the New York Philharmonic's Millennium Celebration, he wrote Four Seasons, an oratorio for chorus and orchestra celebrating various aspects of the months. He wrote a ballet in 2002, The Contract, with choreography by James Kudelka.

He was commissioned to help Chicago celebrate the centennial of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago and produced a work entitled Plans that was performed at the Grant Park Music Festival in June 2009.[1][2]

A synesthete, he is the composer of numerous pieces (Bright Blue Music, Ecstatic Orange) which include colors in the titles, later made into the suite Color Music. Other pieces include The Directions (1986) an opera, Rust (1989), influenced by rap and disco, Telephone Book (1985, 1995), Adjustable Wrench and Ash (1989) and Mass (1990), which received criticism for an attempt at the style of Beethoven and Mendelssohn.

In 2003, he created his own record label, Ecstatic Records, on which he re-released a set of six 1990s CDs that were deleted by the now out-of-business Argo Records, which was a subsidiary of Decca Records.

His opera Pop'pea, a rock opera version of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, was commissioned by the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and premiered there on May 29, 2012.[3]

See also:


  • Independent Music Awards 2012: Tahiti - Best Instrumental Album[4]


  1. From 1909: Burnhams Plan and Rachmaninoffs 3rd. Grant Park Music Festival. Retrieved on 2010-05-10.
  2. Johnson, Lawrence A. (2009-06-20). With unplanned weather, Torkes "Plans" receives ardent if soggy premiere. Chicago Classical Review. Retrieved on 2010-05-10.
  3. "Pop'pea - Monteverdi version vidéo-pop", Le Parisien, (French)
    Pop'pea (31 May 2012) review by Stephen J. Mudge, Opera News, August 2012, vol. 77, no. 2
  4. "11th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced!" Independent Music Awards, 2 May 2012. Retrieved on 4 September 2013.

External links

  • Michael Torke Official Site
  • Classical Net: Michael Torke
  • New York City Opera: Learning Center: Resources Center: Biographies: Michael Torke


  • Boosey & Hawkes: Michael Torke Sound Samples
This page was last modified 24.04.2014 18:36:28

This article uses material from the article Michael Torke from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.