Elizabeth LaCroix


Michael LaCroix's music has received awards in the SOCAN Foundation's Young Composers Competition in Canada (for his piano work, Potens Nuntius), in the Fourth International Prof. Ivan Spassov Composition Competition in Bulgaria (for Twelve Faces of the Emerald), and an SCI/ASCAP Regional Award (for A Presence Close as Breath).  His music has been featured in concerts, festivals, and workshops across North America, South America, and Europe, by such performers as: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and conductor Cliff Colnot in Chicago and Minnesota; The Orchestre National de Lorraine and conductor Diego Masson in Metz, France as part of the Acanthes Festival; eighth blackbird in Chicago; Psappha as part of the St. Magnus Festival in Kirkwall, Scotland; mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley; the FLUX Quartet at CAMI Hall in NYC; Masumi Per Rostad and Brandon Vamos of the Pacifica Quartet; Aventa as part of the Ignite! Composers Workshop; pianist Lisa Kaplan at PianoForte Inc. in Chicago; by Detroit Symphony Orchestra pianist, Robert Conway in solo concerts in Detroit and Windsor, Canada, as well as part of a duo with Canadian pianist Catherine Wilson, commissioning a work for performances in Abbotsford, B.C., Toronto, Detroit, and Columbus, OH; the ensemble of the ARCANA Composers’ meeting in Capriolo, Italy; pianist Ciro Longobardi at the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte in Montepulciano, Italy; Brazilian concert pianist Paulo Gazzañeo on two separate tours across South America; Third Angle New Music Ensemble in Portland, OR; Ensemble Green in California; by the composer as pianist at La Schola Cantorum in Paris, France, and at the Detroit International Jazz Festival; and others.

LaCroix earned the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Music Composition from the University of Chicago, where his principle teachers included Marta Ptaszynska, Shulamit Ran, Elzbieta Sikora, and electronic and multimedia music with Howard Sandroff and Kotoka Suzuki.  He has also had short term studies or participated in master classes with internationally recognized composers Jan Radzynski, Salvatore Sciarrino, Fabio Nieder, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Alasdair Nicolson, Sally Beamish, Klaus Ib Jørgensen, Michel Gonneville, Michèle Reverdy, Lukas Foss, Noël Lee, Leslie Bassett, James Lentini, Narcis Bonet, and Philip Lasser.

While in residence at the University of Chicago, he taught Aural Skills, 18th Century Counterpoint, Intro to Composition, and Harmony and Voice Leading.  Additionally, he held adjunct teaching positions at the Wheaton College Conservatory in Illinois, and the University of Windsor, Canada teaching Aural Skills and Theory/Keyboard Skills for Musical Theater Majors respectively. He currently maintains a studio of private students in piano, guitar, composition, and music theory in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Recent and Upcoming Activities:

Michael is working to complete a musical adaptation of the Aristophanes comedy, The Birds.  The first act was premièred in Chicago on May 22, 2011 by eighth blackbird (plus saxophonist Jeremy Ruthrauff) and featured Israeli actor Ofer Ravid, soprano Tony Arnold, and tenor Peter Tantsits.

In an international exchange with pianist Ciro Longobardi, Michael recently composed a new work for solo piano, Sound Sketch (the fitful tracing of a portal), which was premièred in Tuscany as part of the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte di Montepulciano on July 28, 2011.  In return, he will welcome Mr. Longobardi for a recital of contemporary Italian piano music (focusing on Sciarrino and Fedele) to take place at 3pm on October 23, 2011 at Fulton Recital Hall at the University of Chicago (admission is free and open to the public).

 The première of Velocità astratta, commissioned by the Windsor Symphony Orchestra with a Canada Council for the Arts Commissioning of Canadian Composers Grant, was presented February 9, 2011.

...like the strain waked...
, for viola and cello, was premièred in Chicago by Masumi Per Rostad and Brandon Vamos of the Pacifica Quartet in May 2010.  He began the piece as a participant in the 2008 Intrasonus Workshop in Mestre-Venice, in consultation with performers Garth Knox and Rohan de Saram, and composers Roberto Rusconi and Adriano Guarnieri.  Support for the completion of this project came from a Summer Stipend from the Chicago Arts Council at the University of Chicago.

During spring 2010, his new work for orchestra, colored by many waves, was read in Minnesota by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra with Cliff Colnot conducting.

As a participant in the June 2009 St. Magnus Festival in Kirkwall, Scotland, he composed a short work, Ecliptic, which was premiered by members of Psappha, the ensemble in residence.

A Presence Close as Breath
, which received its première by eighth blackbird on May 23, 2008, was featured during an open reading session at the Aventa Ignite! Composers Workshop in Victoria, BC, Canada, in early September 2008, and by the University of Windsor faculty ensemble at the Windsor Canadian Music Festival at the end of February 2009.

Twelve Faces of the Emerald (read about the first performance of the work in 8bb's blog in the entry Prima Primas) was part of a tour that began at the Chicago Cultural Center on July 21, 2008 featuring soprano Jennifer Macfarlane Haworth and members of the Millennium Chamber Players, with additional dates in early August 2008 in Toronto and Montréal including a performance at the Festival Jusqu'aux Oreilles with baritone Brad Jungwirth as soloist.  (Read the short, but favorable, review from the Montréal Gazette.)