Associate Professor of Composition
American composer Michael Kurek's music, hailed in recent years for its lush neo-romanticism, has garnered performances by numerous symphony orchestras and chamber groups throughout the U.S and in 14 countries on five continents (multiple times in several of them). His works have been heard on NPR and several other countries’ national radio broadcasts, also profiled in national print media and music journals.
Kurek has received several national awards for his music, including the prestigious Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (the Academy’s top annual award for lifetime achievement in composition), also the Academy’s Charles Ives Award and awards or fellowships from the American Symphony Orchestra League, BMI, NEA, Meet the Composer, MTNA, the Tanglewood Music Center’s Fromm Fellowship in Composition, and others. Recorded on New World Records, he served the Recording Academy for six years on the Classical Grammy Awards nominating committee in Los Angeles. He has been a popular guest composer at universities and an adjudicator of the national composition contests of ASCAP and others.
His teachers included the German composer Hans Werner Henze, French composer Eugene Kurtz, and Pulitzer-winning American composers William Bolcom and Leslie Bassett. He holds the doctorate in composition from the University of Michigan and serves on the faculty of Vanderbilt University, where he chaired the department of composition/theory for 14 years. In 2006, the Panhellenic Council and all 10 sororities of the university presented him with the award “Best Blair Educator at Vanderbilt.”