Michael Horwood was born in Buffalo, New York, on May 24, 1947. He studied music
composition and theory at the State University of New York at Buffalo with
Lejaren Hiller, Lukas Foss, and Istvan Anhalt, receiving his Bachelor’s and
Master’s degrees (1969, 1971). In 1971, he moved to Canada and from 1972–2003
was a professor of music and humanities at Humber College of Applied Arts and
Technology in Toronto. In 2003 he retired from teaching. He and his wife now
live in Tucson.
His more than seventy compositions constitute a kaleidoscope of the traditional and
the avant-garde. Among his most successful are the orchestral works: Amusement
Park Suite (1986), National Park Suite (1991) and Symphony No. 2, Visions of a
Wounded Earth (1995). Horwood seems content writing in any genre and,
similarly, feels a composer today should be able to adapt and create in a
variety of styles.
From all the deliberate variety in Horwood’s
music, a few personal traits have emerged. One of these is an acute sense of
sonority, the knack of exploiting the unique ranges and timbres of his
instrumental forces. This use of instrumental sound is occasionally coupled
with an overt sense of theatricality or humor, even in his non-theater works. His
primary hobby is visiting amusement parks.