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Michael Schelle   

You are invited to visit the composer's website for more information.


***Sigma Alpha Iota National Arts Associate




Michael Schelle (b. 1950), Philadelphia) - Composer in Residence, Distinguished Professor of Music and founder/director of the JCFA Composers Orchestra (New Music Ensemble) at Butler University, Indianapolis.

Schelle's works have been commissioned and performed by many orchestras including the Detroit Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the major orchestras of Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Louisville, Cleveland, Chicago (Grant Park Summer Series), Baltimore, Birmingham,, Indianapolis, Springfield (MA), Dayton, Albany, Knoxville, New Mexico, Tulsa, Arkansas, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indiana Opera Theatre, the Greenwich (CT) Orchestra and Chorus, Western Wind Ensemble (Seattle), Group for New Music (Lincoln Center" NYC), the ISIS (Dallas), XTET (Los Angeles), Voices of Change (Austin) and Pittsburgh new music ensembles - and many other orchestras, university symphonic bands/wind ensembles and professional chamber ensembles coast to coast.

Recent international performances of Schelle's orchestral works have included Kammerorchester Basel (Switzerland), the Czestochowa Philharmonic (Poland), Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional (Costa Rica), the Honolulu Symphony New Music Series, and the Koenig Ensemble of London. During Summer 2000, Schelle conducted numerous performances of his work Guttersnipe (for large symphonic wind ensemble) across Eastern Europe - including performances in Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and Schlatming (Austria). Real conductors of his works have included Sir Neville Marriner, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Bill McGlaughlin, Keith Lockhart, Julius Hegyi, John Nelson, Edvard Tchivzhel, Tsung Yeh, Maxiamo Valdes, John Jeter, Kirk Trevor, Stanley DeRusha, Neal Gittleman, Paul Polivnick, Gundaris Pone, and Loeg Kovalenko.

Schelle has received composition grants/commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation (NYC), the Welsh Arts Council (Cardiff), the International Percussive Arts Society (USA), American Pianists Association (the required etude for 12 semi-finalists - 1995 competition), the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition (Utah), Arts Midwest, the Indiana Arts Commission//Arts Council of Indianapolis (3 Master Fellowship grants), Mid-American Conference CBDNA, Great Lakes Arts Alliance, New England Foundation for the Arts, Indiana State Orchestra Consortium (12 member orchestras), NPR, BMI, and ASCAP.

Schelle's composition awards include First Prize in the 1987 Inter-American Competition for New Orchestral Works ( South America), First Prize in the first (1985) Music in the Mountains National Competition for New Orchestral Works (*New York), and twice a Pulitzer Prize nominee (1988, for Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra; and 1994 for Spirits). In 1989 he was named "Distinguished Composer of the Year" by the Music Teachers National Association and, December 31, 2001, the Indianapolis Star newspaper selected the 12/5/01 Ronen Chamber Ensemble program that featured Schelle's 1981 three movement chamber violin concerto Play Us Chastity on Your Violin as the "No. 1 Classical Music Event of 2001 in the City of Indianapolis".

Schelle is a frequent quest composer at colleges and new music festivals across the country, including recent extended residencies and ""All-Schelle" concerts at Syracuse University, Washington State University, University of Southern California, Louisiana State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Kent State University, Capital University, Bowdoin College (Maine), University of Kansas, Sam Houston State University, Saint Mary 's College, and the University of Massachusetts. He has been composer in residence at the Spoleto USA Festival (Charleston, SC), the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts (Virginia), the Center for New Music at Duquesne University, and twice at the MacDowell Artists Colony (NH).

His degrees are from Villanova University (Theatre), Butler University, the Hartt School of Music/University of Hartford (CT), and a Ph. D. from the University of Minnesota. His teachers have included Arnold Franchetti, Dominick Argento, and Aaron Copland. His works are published by MMB Music, Inc.(St. Louis), European American Music, Indiana University Press, Moon of Hope Press (choral), and American Composers Edition. During the summers of 1994-1999, Schelle lived in the Los Angeles area working with his alter-ego 'part-time' creative passion - movie music; composing/'ghost-writing' on numerous cheap low-budget, cheesy, sleazy B-film scores including The Mummy, Bikini Prison, and G-Men from Hell. Schelle's 450-page book The Score: Interviews with Film Composers, commissioned/published by Silman-James Press (Los Angeles), was released internationally in October 1999.

"The best way to make dreams come true is to wake up" - Paul Valery


Contact Information

Prof. Michael Schelle, Ph.D.
Butler University School of Music
4600 Sunset Avenue
Indianopolis, IndianaStudio: 317-940-9642
Home: 317-257-8757

Annual Updates



Three extended ‘Featured Guest Composer’ residencies in Asia during 2009/2011.  Other ‘featured guest composer’ residencies in the past year or two include the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Catholic University of America (Washington D.C.), the University of Oklahoma, St. Mary’s College (IN), and California Lutheran University (March 2011).


Heartland by the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra directed by Richard Clark in New York City in Spring 2010.  Struwwelpeter (1991; orch. 2007) a 35:00 cycle for tenor and large chamber ensemble with the new orchestration commissioned and premiered by the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Steven Stolen, tenor, conducted by Richard Clark in Merkin Hall, New York City on 2/10.  Rain Has Flown (soprano and chamber orchestra), text by Vladimir Nabokov. by St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Julia Kogan, soprano, conducted by Jeffery Meyer in St. Petersburg, Russia on 1/10.  Verboten for piano solo by Miho Sasaki, piano, commissioned by and premiered at Aichi Prefectural University, Nagoya, JAPAN on 12/2/10.  Say Goodnight, Gracie for four wind players at Aichi Prefectural University, JAPAN on 12/10.


Wright Flight (Piano Concerto) by the South Shore Orchestra, Miho Sasaki, piano, conducted by Troy Webdell for eight performances throughout China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Ningbo, 1/10.  The Beast of Brazil by the Toledo Youth Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Thompson in Toledo on 3/10, and at OMEA (Ohio Music Educators Assoc.) conference in Cincinnati, OH on 1/11.  Vox Humana for large orchestra and pre-recorded medium, performed during 2010 – 2011 by many orchestras including the Dayton Philharmonic conducted by Neal Gittleman; the Fort Smith (AR) Symphony conducted by John Jeter, Rockford (IL) Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steven Larsen; and the Butler Symphony Orchestra (IN) conducted by Richard Clark.  Prayer (cello and chamber wind ensemble) received numerous performances during 2009 – 2011, including Indiana University, the University of Oklahoma, Millikin University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Butler University, and the Lafayette Chamber Music Society.


All new 2009 / 2010 pieces published Keiser Classical / Hal Leonard, St. Louis. This publishing house also holds most of my orchestral, wind band and chamber music, and my opera.


Wright Flight (2002 piano concerto) was recently released on the Albany label, with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Russo, piano, conducted by Neal Gittleman. Scheduled for a Spring 2011 international release on Harmonia Mundi is Rain Has Flown (2009) for soprano and chamber orchestra by the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Julia Kogan, soprano, conducted by Jeffery Meyer.




Selected after an international search, Michael Schelle has been Composer-in-Residence for the Albuquerque (NM) Youth Symphony Organization during 2004-2006. Schelle has enjoyed visiting New Mexico six times for numerous concerts and rehearsals, and has composed new orchestral works for the five orchestras of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony (AYS) organization: Ear Infection, Canon Canoso, Extraction on No. 9, Vox Humana, and Enchantment. All scores will be premiered at the Gala AYS Concert, April 2006, Popejoy Hall, Albuquerque, NM. Schelle was the featured guest composer at Eastern Michigan University’s 14th Biennial New Music Festival. Numerous works were performed, including Hammerstein (piano), Howl! (clarinet/mixed chamber ensemble), Gimme Shelter (violin/piano), Struwwelpeter (tenor/piano), Dei Angelus (choir), Guttersnipe (symphonic band), and Samurai (orchestra), February 11-25, 2005, Detroit, MI. Schelle was the featured “in residence” composer for the 55-minute documentary Extreme Orchestra! Opening Night (2005: filmed, produced, directed, edited by Rene Guerrero and Dee Schore; Miasma Film Group), which premiered at the Hot Springs (AR) Film Festival, October 2005, with numerous showings at film festivals across the US. The film highlights Samurai (rehearsals, performances, interviews, etc.), which was performed during the opening subscription concert of the Fort Smith (AR) Symphony Orchestra in October 2004. Please visit:


Crashout was introduced in October 2004 by the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Alfred Savia. Prayer for solo cello and wind ensemble received its first performance from William Grubb and the Butler University Wind Ensemble, directed by Robert Grechesky, in April 2005; and subsequent performances from Jonathan Ruck and the  Indiana University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Stephen Pratt, in October; and Grubb and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, led by Richard Aulden Clark, in February 2006.


The commissioned piano concerto, Wright Flight, received performances in October 2004 from the Dayton Philharmonic, conducted by Neal Gittleman, and in October 2005 from Andrew Russo and the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Alfred Savia. Samurai was heard in two November 2004 performances by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Neal Gittleman, and the Fort Smith (AR) Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of John Jeter. Guttersnipe was performed in November 2004 by the Carnegie Mellon University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Nathan Blume, and in March 2005 by the Butler University Symphonic Band, led by Robert Grechesky, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Manhattan Chamber Orchestra performed Godzilla in January 2005, directed by Richard Aulden Clark.


Celebration of Flight, a CD of music commissioned by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra from Schelle, Bolcom, and Rodriguez, for the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight: Wright Flight, piano concerto; Albany Records.


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