Michael Slayton

MOTO FINALE brings the beloved chamber music series to a close with a number of works inspired by nature, loss, spiritual connection, and music of the past. The seasoned Trio Casals returns for this seventh and final installment to perform the works of seven composers including Michael Slayton, whose piece Through Stone Door is inspired by a natural doorway used by generations of Cherokee and Chickamauga as a means of passage.

Today, Michael is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about an audience member’s reaction to one of his experimental works, and the sense of nostalgia he finds in his piece…

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

I heard Mahler II at ten years old, and it completely captured me. It just seemed impossible, the creation process of something like that, from conception to reality. That feeling of wonder stuck with me and wouldn’t let me shake it.

If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?

Exactly what I’m doing!

What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?

Many years ago I was attending a concert which featured an experimental work I had composed. In the seat directly behind me sat an older gentleman who, at the conclusion of my piece, exclaimed loudly to his wife, “Well I don’t know what that was, but sure as hell wasn’t music!” And of course I was immediately called to the stage for a bow and had to sit back down in front of them for the remainder of the concert. Not exactly embarrassing, but certainly awkward!

What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

One of my favorite moments is the passage from 7:45-8:25 in Kim Diehnelt’s Yarmouth Time. It appears from nowhere, doesn’t go anywhere, and doesn’t pose any questions or answer any. It doesn’t need to. Lovely, and not easy to capture.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Twizzlers! And Bartók’s Twenty-seven Pieces for Unaccompanied Children’s Choir. But mostly Twizzlers.

Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?

This piece is about nostalgia, which is an intangible that occupies a mysterious and important place in the mind and spirit. We have “memories” of things we never experienced — of people we haven’t met — siphoned from an ancient source. There’s something really beautiful in that.

Explore Michael’s Latest Release

MOTO FINALE - album cover


MOTO FINALE is available now from Navona Records. Click here to visit the catalog page and explore this album.

  • Michael K. Slayton

    Michael K. Slayton is an American composer who has written works in a cross-section of musical genres, with specific emphasis on chamber music. His continuing dedication to the value of artistic exchange has afforded him opportunity to partner with distinguished performers all over the world. His music, published by ACA, Inc. (BMI), is regularly programmed in the U.S. and abroad, including Chemnitz, Seitz, Leipzig, Droyssig, and Weimar, Germany; Graz, Austria; Paris,Tours, and Marquette-lez-Lille, France; Kristiansund, Norway; Aviero, Portugal; Brussles, Belgium; Johannesburg and Potchefstroom, South Africa; London, UK; and New York, NY.