Fermata Festival

Michael Gatonska – composer

Michael Gatonska

Michael Gatonska is a composer and soundscape artist. He is a recipient of a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, Kosciuszko Foundation Fellowships, MacDowell Fellowship, and multiple awards from New Music USA and ASCAP. His music has been recognized through commissions and awards from arts institutions including the Hoeschler Foundation, Roberts Foundation, Mary Cary Flagler Charitable Trust, MATA, the Paul Underwood/ACO commission, Chicago Symphony First Hearing Award and the American Prize. He has collaborated with orchestras and ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, String Orchestra of New York City, Talea, Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Chicago Chamber Players. Gatonska’s compositional thinking is primarily concerned with exploring how musical works can express the human-nature relationship. His application of the natural world to music embraces both the intuitive and technical, and that create a mosaic of musical contexts in which diverse sound worlds seamlessly coexist.

What has creating art meant to you over the last year?

During the first lockdown of the pandemic I began to feel isolated and trapped in a lonesome, gray world. I decided that colour was what I needed. Almost as a form of therapy, I started working on a series of large self portraits to document and express how the important things to me in life, music and nature, were being overshadowed by the pandemic. I finished one portrait during the first lockdown, another during the second lockdown, and a third after I received my first vaccine. The fourth, yet unpainted, will follow after I receive my second vaccine. As a composer of music, I have discovered a lot from painting. Like starting with an empty sheet of music paper, I begin a painting with a blank canvas. I must seek out the form, give it colour, rhythm, sculpt light and shadow, make harmony, create tension and balance. In a sense, painting has helped me bring colour and form to my music. What’s more, painting also brings me joy.

Self portrait during lockdown September 2020

Oil pastel

48 x 68cm

£1,750.00

Self portrait during 2nd lockdown January 2021

Oil pastel

46 x 61cm

£1,500.00

Self portrait during 3rd lockdown and after first vaccine May 2021

Oil pastel

48 x 68cm

£1,500.00

Leaf Score: Mossy Oak 2021

India ink and graphite

31 x 48cm

£200.00

Leaf Score: European Ash

India ink and graphite

31 x 48cm

£200.00