Michael Pisaro (born 1961 in Buffalo, New York) is a guitarist and composer. He is member of the Wandelweiser collective. While, like other members of Wandelweiser, Pisaro is known for pieces of long duration with periods of silence, in the past fifteen years his work has branched out in many directions, including work with field recording, electronics, improvisation and large ensembles of very different kinds of instrumental constitution. Called “patient, unpredictable, exceedingly beautiful” by the New York Times, Pisaro’s music has been featured on many recordings in the last decade. Ben Ratliff of the Times writes: “The American composer Michael Pisaro likes his music to develop as a slow-motion force, with adjustments of tone and pitch and instrumentation so long-brewing that you lose your awareness of the player’s hand and the composer’s will.”
Pisaro has a long-standing collaboration with percussionist Greg Stuart, with over thirty collaborations (pieces and recordings) to date, including their 3-disc set, Continuum Unbound from 2014. The work together on Pisaro’s evening length work for 100 percussion, A wave and waves, was featured at the Melbourne Festival (October, 2015) and Atlanta’s Elevate festival (October, 2016), the Big Ears (Knoxville, March, 2017) and Banff (July 2017). Recent portrait concerts of his music have been given in London, Paris, New York, Santiago, St. Petersburg, Lille, The Hague, Tokyo, Glasgow, Moscow, Chicago, Wrocław, Munich, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Brussels, Montpelier, Caracas, Boston, Berlin, Houston, Bologna, Trondheim, Amsterdam, Nantes, Mexico City, Seattle and elsewhere. Recordings of his work have been released by Edition Wandelweiser Records, erstwhile records, New World Records, Hubro, Potlatch, another timbre, meena/ftarri, slubmusic, Cathnor, Senufo Editions, Intonema, winds measure, HEM Berlin and on Pisaro’s own imprint, Gravity Wave.
Before joining the composition faculty at the California Institute of the Arts, he taught music composition at Northwestern University. In 2005/6 he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. He was Fromm Foundation Visiting Professor of Music Composition at in the Department of Music at Harvard in the Fall of 2014.