Michael Gordon is known for his monumental and immersive works. Gordon’s Decasia, for 55 retuned spatially positioned amplified instruments (that also serves as the soundtrack for Bill Morrison’s cult-classic film) has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox Festival and at the Southbank Centre’s Ether Festival. Gordon’s Timber, a tour-de-force for percussion sextet, played on amplified microtonal simantras, has been performed on every continent including by Slagwerk Den Haag at the Musikgebouw (Amsterdam), Mantra Percussion at BAM (New York), So Percussion at the Barbican (London), Ictus at Maerzmusic (Berlin), and live on NPR from a Lowe’s hardware store. Timber has been remixed by Jóhann Jóhannsson, Oneohtrix Point Never and Squarepusher.
Gordon’s work employs the placement of instruments in an environment to create an enveloping mesmerizing spectacle. Natural History, for 120 musicians and the drummers of the local Klamath tribe, was premiered on the rim of Crater Lake (Oregon) by conductor Teddy Abrams and is the subject of the PBS documentary Symphony for Nature. Big Space, commissioned by the BBC Proms, premiered in the Royal Albert Hall with musicians surrounding the audience on all sides. Rushes, for 7 bassoons, was recently performed at the Park Avenue Armory (New York) and by the London Contemporary Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The City Symphonies trilogy—Gotham, for New York, Dystopia, for Los Angeles, and El Sol Caliente, for Miami Beach—join music with film by filmmaker Bill Morrison to capture the essence of their respective cities.
Gordon’s choral works include A Western, premiered at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie by Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices; Anonymous Man, an autobiographical choral work written for The Crossing, about Gordon’s own street and conversations with two homeless men who lived there. Operas include What to wear with the legendary New York theater director Richard Foreman and Acquanetta with iconoclastic director Daniel Fish.
Gordon’s works have been choreographed to by Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance Company, the Stuttgart, Zurich, Royal, Miami, Scottish ballet companies. Recent recordings include Clouded Yellow, Gordon’s complete string quartets performed by the Kronos Quartet.