In 2000, New York based conductor/composer Michel Galante founded the Argento Chamber Ensemble, one of the United States’ leading contemporary music ensembles, and has since guided its musical development and artistic programming. He has guest conducted the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the Janáček Philharmonic, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the Collegium Musicum, the Ensemble Courage of Dresden, the Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, the TACTUS Ensemble, the Desoff Choir, the Princeton Chamber Choir, ICE (the International Contemporary Ensemble), and the Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt, Germany. Recent European conducting engagements have included the world premiere of Georg Friedrich Haas’ new opera “Thomas” at the Schwetzingen Opera Festival in Germany, and a debut at the Salzburg Biennale.
Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Irish Times, and the New York Times have all given him critical praise. Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim of the New York Times wrote “Under the meticulous guidance of Mr. Galante, the Argento players gave an impressive performance that balanced the exhilaration of individual virtuosity.» George Grella of the New York Classical Review wrote “[Mahler’s] Symphony No. 9 is an endless line. Galante formed and followed it with exceptional shape and focus.” Reviewing his European Operatic Debut, Shirley Apthorp from the Financial Times (London), wrote “Michel Galante conducts with precision and empathy.” He has recently been further praised in New York Times reviews by Steve Smith and Viviane Schweitzer as a “clean, clear leader” whose “insightful conducting” leads “tour de force performances.”
Since 2004, he has worked closely with Pierre Boulez, and on three occasions with three separate works, conducted the music of Boulez for the composer in rehearsal and performance. He works regularly with some of the most important musical figures of today, having conducted world premieres by leading composers Beat Furrer, Fred Lerdahl, Sebastian Currier, Bernhard Lang, Helmut Lachenmann, and Philippe Hurel. His CD of the music of Tristan Murail on the Aeon label won a Geijutsu Record Academy Award.
As a composer, Michel Galante has received composition awards including Fulbright, Hertz, and Mellon fellowships, as well as prizes from ASCAP and the Composer’s Guild of America. Recently awarded a Doctorate from Columbia University, where he worked with Tristan Murail, He also studied orchestration with Thea Musgrave, John Corigliano, and analysis with Carl Schachter and Charles Rosen. His recently completed commissions include ballets for the Kate Weare Dance Company and for the New Chamber Ballet, a chamber work for percussionist Daniel Druckman and the New York New Music Ensemble, and a work for violin and piano for violinist Viviane Hagner, who premiered the work in the Berlin Konzerthaus and at Wigmore Hall. In Fall 2009, he began an appointment as artistic director of Austrian Cultural Forum’s Moving Sounds Festival, which pairs contemporary music with electronic performers and installation artists. He is responsible for introducing many international composers and artists to the United States, and to New York, including composers such as Gerard Pesson, Philippe Hurel, Georg Friedrich Haas, Beat Furrer, Eva Reiter, and popular/electronic artists such as Dorian Concept, Dieb13, Soap and Skin. He is a proponent of digital media as a means to create, produce and distribute music, and was one of twelve musicians chosen to be a stagiere at IRCAM, France’s leading electronic music institution.