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The Music of Michael Reid Winikoff

Photo of the composer - Michael Reid WinikoffABOUT THE COMPOSER
Michael Reid Winikoff

I was born and raised in the Minneapolis area.  Some of my earliest memories, starting around 1958, were of music:  daily radio and TV jingles, excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the scherzo movement from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as played nightly at the end of Huntley-Brinkley.  I remember being frightened of certain TV commercials because of their music.  My parents were quick to note how, in my incessant humming, I often hummed not the main tune, but rather the accompaniment – somewhat remarkable for a 6-year-old. 

Among these early musical impressions were those made when I attended synagogue with my parents.  There was an outstanding cantor and choir, and the beautiful and haunting melodies and harmonies became indelibly etched in my ear. 

I was fortunate to be involved in public school choral music all through junior and senior high, becoming intimately acquainted with the contrapuntal intricacies of Haydn’s The Creation, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, along with other works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schütz, A. Scarlatti and others. 

In college I began my study of opera and other classical vocal repertoire, which imparted a sense of the dramatic along with an understanding of the power of the orchestra and its instruments.

My full development as a composer has, for various reasons, come rather late in life.  Only in recent years have I found a compositional voice that satisfies me.  Except for a brief year of study with modernist Miriam Gideon at the Jewish Theological Seminary, I am self-taught.  My learning process has continued in later years, singing (and frequently premiering) choral music with such venerable choral organizations as The Dale Warland Singers and, for 14 years running, Philip Brunelle's renowned VocalEssence.  I have sung under the batons of such distinguished conductors as the late Robert Shaw, Bobby McFerrin, Simon Halsey, Eric Whitacre and Helmuth Rilling.  I am also a member of the American Composers Forum and the Guild of Temple Musicians.

Here is the cumulative and stylistically varied product of my labor – music in which I take great pride, and that I hope will prove as inspiring and gratifying to you as it has to me in creating it.