Helena Michelson :: Biography


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Helena Michelson is active as a composer and pianist and is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She completed her undergraduate studies in Music at the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in composition and theory from the University of California, Davis. She studied piano with Mack McCray at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and, in masterlasses, with Richard Goode and Awadagin Pratt. Helena Michelson has studied composition, among others, with Olly Wilson, Cindy Cox, Jeffrey Miller, Pablo Ortiz, and, in masterclasses, with Louis Andriessen, Martin Bresnick, Mario Davidovsky, Eric Chasalow, Philippe Leroux, Bernard Rands, Judith Shatin, and Joel Hoffman. She has been a participating composer in MusicX, a festival of new music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2003, 2005, and again, in 2007, an invited composer at Domaine Forget in Quebec (2004), and a composition fellow at the Composer's Conference at Wellesley College (2003), the Ernest Bloch Composers' Symposium (2004), and an invited composer at June in Buffalo (2009). Her music has been performed and recognized by such groups and organizations as North/South Consonance, San Francisco Chamber Wind Festival, Berkeley Contemporary Players, Empyrean Ensemble, Great Noise Ensemble, Le Nouveau Ensemble Moderne, and Riverside and Berkeley Symphonies.  Her awards include two grants from the American Composers Forum (2007, 2011) and Composer Assistance Program of the New Music USA (2009).  She is the 2013 winner of The American Composers Forum of Los Angeles (ACF-LA) Competition.  As a performer of her music, she has recently appeared at UAHuntsville New Music Festival  and INNOVATION-- New Music Festival  at University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg, as well as numerous times at Contemporary Music Festival (San Francisco).


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Helena Michelson was born in Moscow, Russia and grew up in Riga, Latvia, where she began studying piano at age five.  She received her early music instruction at the Jazeps Medins School of Music in Riga and, after moving to the United States, continued at the Preparatory Department of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano with Mack McCray.  She completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley.  While there, she frequently performed in the Noon Concert Series at Hertz Hall as a soloist as well as a collaborative pianist.  She also played in masterclasses with pianists Richard Goode and Awadagin Pratt.

It was also during her studies at UC Berkeley that Helena Michelson shifted her primary focus to composition.  After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, she continued her graduate studies in composition at California State University, East Bay (MA) and received a doctorate in Music Composition and Theory from the University of California, Davis.

Helena Michelson has studied composition, among others, with Olly Wilson, Cindy Cox, Jeffrey Miller, Pablo Ortiz, and, in masterclasses, with Louis Andriessen, Martin Bresnick, Mario Davidovsky, Eric Chasalow, Philippe Leroux, Bernard Rands, and Judith Shatin.  She has been a participating composer in MusicX, a festival of new music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2003, 2005, and again, in 2007, an invited composer at Domaine Forget in Quebec (2004), and a composition fellow at the Composer's Conference at Wellesley College (2003), the Ernest Bloch Composers' Symposium (2004), and in the summer 2009, an invited composer at June in Buffalo.

Her music has been performed and recognized by such groups and organizations as North/South Consonance, San Francisco Chamber Wind Festival, Berkeley Contemporary Players, Empyrean Ensemble, Great Noise Ensemble, Le Nouveau Ensemble Moderne, and Riverside and Berkeley Symphonies.  Her awards include two grants from the American Composers Forum (2007, 2011) and Composer Assistance Program of New Music USA (2009).  She is the 2013 winner of The American Composers Forum of Los Angeles (ACF-LA) Competition.

As a performer of her music, she has recently appeared at UAHuntsville New Music Festival  and INNOVATION-- New Music Festival  at University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg, as well as numerous times at Contemporary Music Festival (San Francisco).



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