Born in London in 1963, Michael Zev Gordon is a composer of highly crafted works with a strong lyrical charge. His music ranges from the emotionally turbulent to the serene, and often alludes to, or quotes from, the music of the past or from non-classical sources. Memory is a recurring subject.
Gordon’s music has been performed by many leading ensembles including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Sinfonietta and CHROMA. Soloists include Huw Watkins, Nicholas Daniel, Toby Spence, Richard Watkins and Alina Ibragimova. Gordon has also regularly written for choir, performers including the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, New London Chamber Choir, EXAUDI and the BBC Singers.
Major concert venues and music festivals to have premiered Gordon’s work include the Barbican, the Wigmore Hall, Spitalfields, Huddersfield, Aldeburgh Proms, Ryedale, Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival and Cheltenham. Commissions for the last of these include a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano, Mandelstam Settings, and a concert arrangement of A Pebble in the Pond for narrator and ensemble, originally a work for radio that won the Prix Italia for best radio composition in 2004.
Gordon has also been twice winner of the choral category of the British Composer Awards (in 2008 and 2011), the second time for Allele for 40 voices, a work written on the subject of genes, in collaboration with the poet Ruth Padel and scientists from King’s College London.
As well as composing in a wide variety of genres – including opera and orchestral – for professional musicians, Gordon also enjoys writing for amateur and younger players. He has written solo piano music, music for violin and piano and also contributed to the work of Contemporary Music for Amateurs (CoMA).
Gordon is active as a teacher of composition. He has taught at the universities of Southampton and Durham, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, and is now Professor of Composition at the University of Birmingham.