Trained as a classical pianist and conductor, Mike Holober began his apprenticeship as a jazz pianist and composer after moving to New York City in 1986. He has worked with some of the best jazz artists on the scene, and can be heard on over 50 recordings as a sideman.
His own projects include The Mike Holober Quintet and The Gotham Jazz Orchestra. The quintet’s first recording, Canyon, was released in 2003, and Wish List -- featuring Tim Ries on saxophone, Brian Blade on drums, Wolfgang Muthspiel on guitar, and John Patitucci on bass -- came out in 2006. The Gotham Jazz Orchestra’s Thought Trains (2005) received a 4 star review in DownBeat Magazine and was listed as one of the magazine’s outstanding CDs of 2005. Quake, the orchestra’s most recent recording, was released on Sunnyside Records in January 2009 and also received a 4 star review in DownBeat Magazine.
Mike’s work as a composer and arranger has earned him a reputation as one of New York’s most respected jazz writers. With his recent appointment as associate director of the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop he has joined the ranks of writers such as Bob Brookmeyer, Manny Albam, and Jim McNeely. He is also artistic director and conductor of Westchester Jazz Orchestra, a non-profit organization that performs a regular program of newly commissioned works each year.
Mike’s arrangements and compositions have been performed and/or recorded by The HR Big Band in Frankfort, The WDR Big Band in Cologne, The Westchester Jazz Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Gotham Wind Symphony, The Airmen Of Note, The Army Blues, Prism Saxophone Quartet, New York Saxophone Quartet, The Catskill Symphony Orchestra, The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, many New York City based small jazz groups, as well as student groups such as The Eastman Jazz Ensemble and the Orchestra of the Conservatory in Innsbruck, Austria. As a pianist he has performed and recorded with The Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, John Patitucci, The Tim Ries Rolling Stones Project, Nick Brignola, Jason Rigby, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, The Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra, The NewYorkestra, Pete McGuinness, Dave Pietro, Charles Pillow, John Abercrombie, Tim Hagans, Peter Erskine and many others.
Mike toured Venezuela as a Cultural Connect Envoy for the U. S. State Department (June 2005), playing concerts of his original works for jazz quintet and orchestra with symphonies in Merida, Maracaibo, Caracas, and Valencia. He remains active as a composer in the contemporary classical idiom with commissions for chamber works and he is currently composer in residence of the Gotham Wind Symphony (2004-present). As an associate professor at The City College of NY (1995-present), Mike directs jazz ensembles and teaches courses in jazz composition and arranging, and a rhythm section seminar.
Mike is a recent five-time MacDowell Fellow (2003-2006, 2009), Ucross Foundation Fellow (2007), and Corporation of Yaddo Guest (200). He recently completed a commission from The Philadelphia Museum of Art, funded by The Pew Charitable Trust and administered by the Philadelphia Music Project. This was for “Hiding Out,” an extended work for The Gotham Jazz Orchestra which was premiered at the museum on February 8, 2008. Other recently completed commissions were for The Gotham Wind Symphony and The University of Michigan. He currently holds a commission from Westchester Jazz Orchestra. This extended work, “Flow; In Celebration of the Hudson River,” is funded by an Individual Artist Grant from New York State Council on the Arts, and will be premiered on April 10, 2010.