The works of Michael Gilbertson have been described as “elegant” and “particularly beautiful” by The New York Times, “vivid, tightly woven” and “delectably subtle” by the Baltimore Sun, “genuinely moving” by the Washington Post, and “a compelling fusion of new and ancient” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gilbertson is the BMI Composer in Residence with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and is a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Quartet.
Gilbertson holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Yale University. His works have been programmed by orchestras including the Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Opera, Albany Symphony, New World Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Symphony in C, wind ensembles including The United States Marine Band, and choirs including Musica Sacra, The Crossing, and Conspirare.
Gilbertson’s work has earned awards including a Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Copland House Residency Award, five Morton Gould Awards from ASCAP, and a BMI Student Composer Award. In March, 2016, he was MusicalAmerica Magazine’s featured Artist of the Month. His opera Breaking, a collaboration with playwright Caroline McGraw, was commissioned by the Washington National Opera and premiered at The Kennedy Center in November, 2013. He has twice composed and conducted ballets for the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute and his fifth ballet, a collaboration with choreographer Norbert De La Cruz, was premiered by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet in July 2013. Gilbertson serves as artistic director of an annual music festival, ChamberFest Dubuque, which he founded in 2009 to raise money for a community school in his hometown of Dubuque IA.