Discipline: Music Composition

Mike Holober

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Mount Kisco, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2020

Described as “one of the finest modern composer/arrangers of our time” by Downbeat Magazine, pianist Mike Holober has released six recordings as a leader and can be heard on over 70 recordings as a sideman. His latest release, Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra: Hiding Out (ZOHO Music, 2019) was nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album), and features two multi-movement suites inspired by the natural world: Hiding Out, which was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art (funded by the Pew Foundation), and Flow, which was commissioned by the Westchester Jazz Orchestra (funded by a NYSCA Individual Artists Grant). Flow was composed during a MacDowell residency in 2009.

The release of Hiding Out comes after a decade working with some of the worlds most renowned large ensembles, including the hr-Big Band in Frankfurt, and the WDR Big Band in Cologne. During this period Mike wrote and conducted for such notable artists as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Miguel Zenón, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Al Foster, John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, and Paquito D’Rivera.

Mike is the recipient of a 2018 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works commission for Don’t Let Go, a song cycle for jazz octet with voice, and he was recently nominated as the inaugural Stuart Z. Katz Professor in the Humanities and the Arts at The City College of New York for This Rock We’re On: Imaginary Letters, an oratorio for jazz orchestra, voice, cello, and percussion. He continued work on the project at MacDowell in 2020. The work gives voice to a cast of characters – authors, artists, and adventurers – whose lives were driven by the need to protect and preserve the natural world.

A full professor at The City College of New York, Mike served as associate director of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop from 2007-2015, and teaches courses on arranging at the Manhattan School of Music.

Portrait by Perry Hall


Irving Fine

Mike Holober worked in the Irving Fine studio.

Youngstown Studio was given to MacDowell by friends of Miss Myra McKeown in Youngstown, OH, where she promoted both art and music. It was renamed Irving Fine Studio in 1972 in honor of Irving Fine, a distinguished composer, conductor, and teacher who was a MacDowell Fellow during the 1940s and 1950s. The simple interior of the studio…

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