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Michael Colgrass: Music Maverick is a documentary in progress about Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Michael Colgrass. This site chronicles our project with video excerpts, background info and news updates.

Arctic Dreams Video

In this excerpt, Colgrass talks about living in the Arctic in 1989 and finding the inspiration to write Arctic Dreams for wind ensemble. (Read more about our documentary project below.)

A Musical Maverick

Fitting the life of Michael Colgrass into one documentary is no easy task: jazz drummer, classical percussionist, Pulitzer Prize–winning composer, performance trainer, author, music educator — each of his careers could be a film in itself. PBS made the Emmy Award–winning Soundings: The Music of Michael Colgrass in 1982, but Colgrass has done a lot since then, writing for top international ensembles and soloists, teaching composition to middle and high school students, writing two books, training Neuro-Linguistic Programmers... and more. Read about Michael on his blog or his homepage.

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Summer 2017

We’ve been busy shooting and editing footage for an educational DVD about Michael’s new method of teaching music. He and conductor Glen Adsit — and now other music educators across the U.S. — use graphic notation to show middle and high school students how to compose, conduct and perform their own pieces. (Here’s a sample.) In 2015 Michael and Glen showed their techniques to a full house of enthusiastic educators at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Now they're writing a book to explain their method in greater detail. An instructional DVD will be included. Editing of the documentary should begin this year!