Michael Small


Michael’s works often draw on visual or literary sources and seek to place the listener’s imaginative journey at the heart of the work’s narrative. Dreams, hallucinations, memory, flight, and surreal landscapes are recurring themes.

In 2014, Michael received the Alan Horne prize from the Royal Philharmonic Society.  The commissioned piece for solo violin called White Space was written for UK violinist Fenella Humphreys and premiered at the Presteigne Festival in August 2015. It has since received performances in Bristol, Oxford, Liverpool, London and at the National Galleries of Art in Edinburgh, before a painting by the artist who inspired the work. Michael’s piece for the Momenta Quartet, Memory Palace received its New York premiere in October 2015 as part of the Momenta Festival. Michael was a Friends of Copland House Fellow during the Copland House's 2016 Cultivate workshop week, and had his orchestral work Eastern Point showcased in the American Composers Orchestra's Underwood Readings. Upcoming pieces include a new Oboe Quintet to be premiered in the spring of 2018.

Michael studied composition with David Horne as an undergraduate at the Royal Northern College of Music between 2007 and 2011, where he received a First Class BMus Hons. During his time there he wrote for several festivals and participated in masterclasses with Rolf Hind, Simon Bainbridge, Graham Fitkin, Christopher Rouse, H.K. Gruber and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Michael’s work Alacrity [for Sinfonietta] was premiered in May 2010 by Ensemble 10/10, was described as “a brief but exhilarating ride” by The Guardian. In 2011, Michael was awarded the Sage Fellowship to study composition at Cornell University on the D.M.A. program. He studied there under the tutelage of Steven Stucky and Kevin Ernste. In 2013, Michael received the Otto R. Stahl Memorial Award from Cornell University for his work In Mid-Autumn, which was written for soprano Judith Kellock, conductor Chris Kim and the Festival Chamber Orchestra. Michael has now received his doctorate from Cornell University, after successfully defending his thesis on the music of Julian Anderson.


"How fair, how strange," after Virginia Woolf's The Waves, for solo violin (2016-17)
Michiko Theurer, violin