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The ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre welcomes new assistant professor of percussion

Chamber musician, soloist and teaching artist Michael Compitello joins Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre as assistant professor of percussion beginning this fall. Compitello is an advocate for the efficacy of contemporary music in contemporary society and for building community around the arts.

Michael Compitello

“We are thrilled to have attracted an artist of Michael Compitello’s caliber to the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre,” said Heather Landes, director of the school. “Dr. Compitello’s advocacy for new music creation and performance and his emphasis on community engagement aligns well with the mission of the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre.”

Compitello is dedicated to creating dynamic new art through collaborations with composers, performers, actors and artists in all mediums as well as honoring his instrument’s most important repertoire.

“I value ASU’s emphasis on design and innovation, commitment to socially engaged practice, and the collaborative, interdisciplinary work being done by faculty and students,” said Compitello. “I am excited to build upon the percussion program’s tradition of excellence and to work with a unique and talented team of colleagues.” 

A major element of Compitello’s creative activity is commissioning, premiering and recording new works for percussion. He is a champion of new and recent works for solo percussion in the United States and abroad, organizing and participating in consortium commissions for works from composers such as Robert Honstein, Christopher Cerrone, Tonia Ko, Amy Beth Kirsten, James Wood and David Crowell. 

Compitello said he looks forward to including ASU percussionists in new projects and involving percussion studio members in collaborations with some of the country’s most interesting composers.

As a soloist, Compitello has performed with Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Signal, Ensemble ACJW and with members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Eighth Blackbird and So Percussion. He has performed at the Darmstadt Summer Course, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series, June in Buffalo, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. He has worked with composers Helmut Lachenmann, Nicolaus A. Huber, David Lang, John Luther Adams, Alejandro Viñao, Marc Applebaum and Martin Bresnick on premieres and performances of new chamber works. 

With cellist Hannah Collins, as New Morse Code, Compitello works to highlight the compelling works of young composers. New Morse Code’s debut album, “Simplicity Itself” (New Focus Recordings, 2017), was praised by I Care if You Listen as “an ebullient passage through pieces that each showcase the duo’s clarity of artistic vision and their near-perfect synchronicity.” The album was featured on Spotify's Top Classical of 2017 Playlist and WQXR's New Sounds. New Morse Code was a finalist in the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition and the recipient of a 2015 Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America with composer Christopher Stark.

Inspired to become a teacher by what he called life-changing teachers that he encountered during his training to become a performing artist, Compitello said he believes it is also a teaching artist’s responsibility to teach and mentor students to be strong advocates for their passions.

Competillo previously taught at the University of Kansas, Cornell University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He earned a Doctor of Music and Master of Music from the Yale School of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with renowned percussionist Robert Van Sice.

“I look forward to bringing the diversity of my professional and educational experiences to ASU, exposing the students to a wide variety of musical situations,” said Campitello. "I hope to help studio members create dynamic, flexible and entrepreneurial career paths within the arts while modeling professionalized experiences.”

lamacdon@asu.edu