Michael Roth


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Michael Roth is a composer, music director, orchestrator, pianist, and sound designer whose work has been described as music “one could imagine Charles Ives composing had he lived long enough to encounter rock-and-roll and beat poetry.” Having graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan, where he studied composition with William Bolcom, he has been an active professional for over 35 years, creating a body of work that encompasses chamber music, new and experimental opera and music/theatre, music for dance, music for film, and especially music and sound for theatre, having composed the music for over 250 productions at major theatres throughout North America, including Broadway, off-Broadway, the Stratford Festival in Canada, and as a resident artist and composer at both South Coast Repertory and La Jolla Playhouse in California.

Recent projects include 2 collaborations with Christopher Plummer (Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST and Plummer's one-man show A WORD OR TWO), and collaborating with Stacy Keach as Falstaff in HENRY IV PARTS ONE & TWO.

Michael is also known for his many collaborations with composer Randy Newman, as a music director, orchestrator, arranger, and pianist, including musical direction for THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (Disney Animated Features); orchestrations, vocal arrangements and score supervision for Randy's FAUST (City Center Encores in concert, La Jolla Playhouse, Goodman Theatre); as well as HARPS & ANGELS (Center Theatre Group), THE EDUCATION OF RANDY NEWMAN (Act Theatre, Seattle; SCR), and editing five definitive songbook anthologies for Alfred Music Publishing.

Michael was proud to be a 2011 fellow at the prestigious Sundance Institute Composers/Documentary Lab; recent projects, productions, and works-in-progress include:

A WORD OR TWO (2012-14) – score for a solo performance piece by Christopher Plummer (Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Ahmanson Theatre, LA)

TWELFTH NIGHT (2011-12) – composed (with Des McAnuff) the songs and score for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival production, featuring Brian Dennehy; CD available through iTunes and CDbaby, filmed for theatrical release and broadcast on Bravo.

THE TEMPEST (2010-11) – composed the score for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival production featuring Christopher Plummer, also filmed for theatrical release and broadcast on Bravo, Des McAnuff, director.

IMAGINATION DEAD IMAGINE (work-in-progress) – setting of Samuel Beckett’s text, for recorded voices and string quartet, work supported by a Subito grant from the American Composer’s Forum, to be premiered in 2015.

JEWS AND BASEBALL (2010-11) – composed music for the documentary by Peter Miller, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, featuring Sandy Koufax, theatrical release in 2010, broadcast on PBS in 2011-12.

TERMITE (2011) – score for an independent film by John Walcutt (Hollywood Reel Independent Festival winner)

STREICH (1988-2009) – chamber rag for flute, violin, viola, and cello; winner, first American Composer Forum/LA competition.

KYRIE-MERCY-ANA M (2007) - eight-part motet for a capella choir, premiered at the American Composers Forum/LA salon, January, 2007; from LANDSCAPE THE TAR ROOF TREE, work-in-progress music/theatre collaboration with Alice Ripley.

YOUR NAME HERE (2007-9) – composed music, soundscore, songs for film by Matthew Wilder, with Bill Pullman.

THE PERSIANS (2003-06) – music/sound score for percussion, cello; premiere of Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of Aeschylus’ play, Tony Randall, producer - National Actors Theatre/New York; Shakespeare Theatre, DC (Helen Hayes Award nominee).

TO SPITE YOUR FACE (2010) - chamber piece for solo tuba and multilayered live sampling.

Other recent work: collaborating with Daniel Sullivan and Donald Margulies on the world premieres of BROOKLYN BOY (Broadway) and DINNER WITH FRIENDS (Pulitzer Prize, off-Broadway); composed music for A WALK IN THE WOODS (Broadway) and PEOPLE BE HEARD, TALKING HEADS, SIGHT UNSEEN, SABINA, GOING TO ST. IVES (off-Broadway); collaborating with Tom Stoppard on the American premieres of INDIAN INK and INVENTION OF LOVE; collaborating with MacArthur Fellow Sarah Ruhl on the west coast premiere of MELANCHOLY PLAY (also produced in Seattle, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts); many collaborations with Mac Wellman including their music/theatre piece THE ALLEGORY OF WHITENESS (Humana Festival, 2001) and the Obie-award winning premieres of BAD PENNY, TERMINAL HIP, and BITTER BIERCE; as a resident artist/composer at La Jolla Playhouse (over 35 productions) and South Coast Repertory (over 50 productions), many credits including THE BIRDS (music/theatre with Culture Clash, also at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Getty Villa), many world premieres by Lee Blessing, and the world premieres of Margaret Edson’s WIT (Pulitzer Prize), Noah Haidle’s MR. MARMALADE, and Steven Drukman’s THE PRINCE OF ATLANTIS; for the UCLA Center for International Medicine and the UN, composing the music and sound for DVDs on landmine safety, combat casualty care, sexual assault, and family planning; additional collaborations with, among others, Anne Bogart, Erik Ehn, Mark Lamos, James Lapine, Ethan McSweeny, Carey Perloff, John Rando, and Peter Sellars; and as a pianist, accompanying singers from Marni Nixon to Alicia Keyes. Michael's work, including the CD of his opera THEIR THOUGHT & BACK AGAIN, is available via CDBaby and i-tunes.

External Links


  1. Betsy Holt
  2. Brooke O'Harra
  3. Music Gateway
  4. János Négyesy