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Michael Schelle

Professor - Music Music - JCA
Michael Schelle


LH 219

MICHAEL SCHELLE (b. 1950 in Philadelphia) was raised in northern New Jersey and graduated from NHR High School where, as Captain of the track team, he held the all-state distance records in the javelin, shot put and hammer for three years running. Now, 35+ years running as Composer in Residence and founder of the notorious JCA Composers Orchestra (new music ensemble) at Butler University in Indianapolis, he has been 2X nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music, a finalist for the International Humour in Poetry Competition (Paris), a published author (film music book), and restaurant critic. 

Upon his arrival at Butler in the 1980s, he inherited the one sole composition major - but for the past 25 years, the department has maintained strong national presence attracting a yearly average of 10-12 undergraduate (BM) composition majors, and 10-12 graduate (MM) composition majors from across the United States and from Europe and Asia, the majority of whom have gone on to successful composition careers in new music, academia and / or music for media (film / TV / video games).

Michael Schelle's music has been commissioned and / or performed by over 350 orchestras, symphonic bands and professional chamber ensembles across the US and abroad including the Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, the major orchestras of Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Portland (OR), Dayton, Nashville, Kansas City, Arizona, Honolulu and Springfield (MA), the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, XTET (Los Angeles), Urban Quartet (Phoenix), Voices of Change (Dallas), the Tokyo to New York chamber series ... and internationally by Kammerorchester Basel (Switzerland), the St. Petersburg (Russia) Chamber Orchestra, the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra (Moscow), Warsaw Chamber Opera, the Czestochowa Philharmonic (Poland), Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional (Costa Rica), the Koenig Ensemble of London, the Banff Centre (Canada), CoMET (Tokyo), Firenza New Music Festival (Italy), Beijing (China) Opera House, the Zimbabwe Arts Festival, and the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Schelle has received composition prizes, grants and awards from over 30 prestigious national arts organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Symphony Orchestra League (NYC), American Pianists Association, National Band Association (2012 Revelli Composition Prize), the Welsh Arts Council (Cardiff), the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Arts Council, Arts Midwest, the Great Lakes Arts Alliance, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship (x2). 

He has held extended composition residencies at dozens of leading American universities, conservatories and new music festivals, and at Spoleto USA, Wolf Trap, the MacDowell Colony (NH), and many extended residencies abroad - including Visiting Professor (2019) at the Kraków Academy of Music, at Chopin University of Music (Warsaw), and in the Czech Republic, Austria, Amsterdam, Costa Rica, Japan (x3 - Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima) and China. Schelle holds degrees from Villanova University (theatre), the Hartt School of Music (CT), the Trinity College of Music, London, UK, (diploma), and a Ph.D. from University of Minnesota. His composition teachers have included Aaron Copland, Arnold Franchetti, Paul Fetler and Dominick Argento. During the summers of 1998 – 2004, Schelle lived in Los Angeles, writing a film music book (The Score, published in 2000 by Silman-James Press, LA, and translated / published in Korea in 2013) - and working on the original scores for such Hollywood blockbusters (?) as The Mummy, G Men from Hell and Bikini Prison.