Michael Tenzer in 1992
(born 1957) is a composer,
performer, educator and scholar. He studied music at Yale University (BA. 1978) and University of
California, Berkeley (Ph.D.
1986). After teaching at Yale
from 1986-96, he moved to University of British Columbia where he teaches ethnomusicology, composition, music theory and gamelan
performance, co-directs the doctoral program in ethnomusicology.
Tenzer's compositions for chamber, solo and orchestral media have
been performed in North America, Europe, and Asia, featuring
performers such as Pandit Swapan
(tabla), Alex Klein
and Evan Ziporyn
publications have been recognized with the Society for Ethnomusicology
Alan P. Merriam Prize (best book of 2000) and the 34th annual
ASCAP-Deems Taylor award, and his research has been supported with
grants from the National Endowment for the
composition prizes are a Library of Congress/Koussevitzky commission for a chamber work,
Sources of Current.
After its premiere the New York Times
called it "deft, sophisticated
and inventive." He received the Charles Ives Center award for his
percussion quartet (1981), the DiLorenzo prize for the octet
(1985) for string quartet and clarinets, and the
Morse Fellowship to complete his Symphony for Strings
(1988). Tenzer's music is available on New World, Canteloupe and
Bali Stereo labels.
1977, Tenzer has been deeply involved with the gamelan music of Bali, Indonesia.
He carried out several years of research
and writing about it on a series of fellowships, among them a
Fulbright (1982), a grant from the Asian Cultural Council
Morse Fellowship (1989), and a National Endowment for the
Humanities University Teacher's Fellowship (1994). An experienced
performer and teacher of gamelan, Tenzer is the author of two books
on the subject: Balinese Music
(Periplus: 1991; 2nd ed.
1998) and Gamelan Gong
Kebyar: The Art of 20th Century Balinese Music
of Chicago Press 2000). More recently he published Analytical Studies in World Music
2006). He was the first Western composer invited to compose for
Balinese ensembles in Bali and has completed a series of works of
an increasingly experimental character for the gamelan since 1982,
among them Sinar Jegog
(1985), Situ Banda
("Bridge of Monkeys"; 1989), Banyuari
for gamelan with tabla (1999), "Puser Belah" for
2 simultaneous gamelan ("Unstable Center"; 2003), and "Buk Katah"
for gamelan with a nonet of brass, winds and piano ("Underleaf";
2006). These works have been cited by Balinese critics as "an
important and unique contribution to our cultural heritage". The
last three compositions cited plus others are featured on the 2009
CD Let Others Name You
on New World records. In 1979, Tenzer
co-founded the Sekar Jaya gamelan
ensemble in Berkeley,
California, an organization of Americans dedicated to the
performance of Balinese arts that is now internationally
Since 1996 he has directed Gamelan Gita Asmara
Not to be confused with Dr. Michael Tenzer, radiology resident, who
resides in Michigan and is renowned for his contribution to HSGs
with the advent of the Tenzer Tilt.