Writing music is a privilege that connects me to exceptional composers and performers of the past and present. The dialogue with these great minds and souls through listening to their music, reading their scores, and at times working with them in person, is a source of pleasure and discovery, and gives me the feeling of belonging to a community of musicians, spread across continents and over centuries.

My stimulus to write music comes from listening to internal and external sounds, being asked, collaborating with performers, and by elaborating a vision in my mind linked to an emotional impulse felt in my body.

An essential bond unites composer, performer, and audience. I treasure what each contributes: the craft and imagination to work and create, the collaboration with performers who infuse the piece with their humanity and musicianship, and the thrill of an engaged audience hearing the music and participating in that shared experience.

There are times when magic happens during a particular performance or during the process of composition. These occurrences cannot be conjured up on command. They are fleeting moments that are part of a lifelong work. I believe many people have experienced them, and they make the quest of making music real and worthwhile. I try to be open to those magic moments, they come and go, but most people know when they happen. They have as much to do with human connection as with the world of sounds and time that music creates.

It is humbling to work at something that is to some degree unknown, and has a life of its own.

I can relate to what Picasso said: “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” and the quote by Glenn Gould “The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.”


Michele Caniato attended Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, and  has a doctorate in composition from Boston University.

Former Teachers: Michael Abene, Frank Battisti, Richard Cornell, John Daverio, Lukas Foss, Robert Freedman, Charles Fussell, Jimmy Giuffre, Greg Hopkins, Harvey Pittel, John La Porta, William Thomas McKinley, Sue Ellen Kuzma, Hal Crook, Jim McNeely, Marjorie Merryman, Bill Pierce, Herb Pomeroy, Ana Popa.

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