Michael Wittgraf



Biography


Michael Wittgraf earned the D.Mus. in composition from Northwestern University, the M.A. in music theory and composition from the University of Minnesota, and the B.A. in mathematics from Carleton College. His composition teachers include Dominick Argento, Andrew Imbrie, M. William Karlins, Alan Stout, Jay Alan Yim, Alex Lubet, and Phillip Rhodes.  In 2005 he served as Dayton-Hudson Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music at Carleton College.  Currently he is Professor of Music at the University of North Dakota, where he has been since 1998.  He specializes in composition, theory, technology, and bassoon.  Prior to 1998 he served on the music faculties at Northwestern University and St. Mary’s College.

Dr. Wittgraf has won the University of Minnesota Craig and Janet Swan Sesquicentennial Commissioning Project.  Additionally, his music has received special distinction in the ASCAP/Nissim Foundation Composition Contest, and he has been a finalist in the Ladislav Kubik International Prize in Composition, the Modern Chamber Players International Composition Contest, and the Pi Kappa Lambda Chamber Music Composition Competition.  His music has been performed by many artists, including Zeitgeist, Trio Montecino, the Chiara String Quartet, the BECS Quartet of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Thursday Musical of St. Paul, the University of North Dakota Wind Ensemble, the DuQuesne Contemporary Ensemble, and Tempus Fugit.

Dr. Wittgraf has been commissioned through the National Symphony Orchestra, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the North Dakota Music Teachers Association,  The Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, and many other organizations, ensembles and performers.  He was the commissioned composer for the National Symphony’s North Dakota Residency in 2003.  His music has been funded by the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.  He has been composer-in-residence for the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, and is active in the Grand Forks region as a performer, composer, and lecturer. 

His catalog contains over fifty works, and includes music for orchestra, band, choir, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, voice, and electronics.  His music has been performed throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, France, Germany, and Austria.

Other musical passions have given him compositional and performance experience with polka, rock, blues, jazz, and country music.  He has been in bands that have opened for artists as diverse as the Neville Brothers, Molly Hatchet, and Kenny G.  Also a mathematician by training, he has found ways to combine diverse musical styles with mathematical precision, while maintaining a keen overall musical sensibility.