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About Gala

Gala Flagello (b. 1994) is a composer, educator, and nonprofit director whose music is inspired by a passion for lyricism, rhythmic vitality, and fostering meaningful collaboration. With music described as “both flesh and spirit, intensely psychological without sacrificing concrete musical enjoyment” (I Care If You Listen), Flagello collaborates with leading ensembles, artists, initiatives, and institutions nationally and internationally to craft impactful projects for performers and audiences alike. She is the Festival Director and co-founder of the nonprofit contemporary music festival Connecticut Summerfest and has been a Composition Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, and Aspen Music Festival.

Upcoming premieres in the 2023/2024 season include Bravado for wind band by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Vitality for wind band by the Youth Performing Arts School Wind Ensemble at the Midwest Clinic, and Until My Last Breath by Horns of the Heartland. Other season highlights include performances by the Santa Fe Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, La Jolla Symphony, DuPage Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Symphony Orchestra, and Central Ohio Symphony.

Flagello’s recent creative projects include collaborations with the Albany Symphony, Hub New Music, Peabody Essex Museum, University of Michigan Symphony Band, Virginia Tech Wind Ensemble, University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, and the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. Recent accolades include first prize in the Musicians Club of Women Composition Competition, the Sinta Quartet Composition Competition, and the Michigan Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composer Prize. Her music will appear on upcoming albums including violinist Matt Albert’s &Violin (E Pluribus Unum for violin and viola) and saxophonist Jeff Siegfried’s Shades (Candlewood for soprano saxophone and piano).


Striving to use music as a vehicle for social change, Flagello frequently engages with topics such as environmental advocacy, gender equity, and mental health in her work. She was recently commissioned by Hub New Music to write The Bird-While, a concerto for Hub New Music and symphonic winds premiered by Michael Haithcock and the University of Michigan Symphony Band in 2023. The concerto is based on the environmental poetry of Michigan poet Keith Taylor, each movement sonically exploring Michigan-specific flora and fauna, and 5% of all score sales is donated to the Bird Center of Michigan. Flagello’s other recent socially engaged projects include commissions from Diversify the Stand for Winds of Change; bassoonist Joseph Swift for his album Room to Breathe; mezzo-soprano Samantha Williams for her theatrical song cycle American Patriots; and the Georgia Run-Off Commissioning Project.


Gala is a passionate educator in the classroom, privately, and as a guest lecturer. In her teaching, she enthusiastically works with students to develop fledgling ideas into fully realized pieces, examine repertoire from Saint-Georges to Saariaho, and incorporate non-musical elements such as visual art and technology into their work. Gala maintains a private studio of composition students at the high school and collegiate level. She has been engaged to speak on composition, orchestration, arts administration, and entrepreneurship at institutions such as The Hartt School, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Virginia Tech, Heidelberg University, and Central Connecticut State University. In winter 2024, she and Hub New Music Executive Director Michael Avitabile will co-teach the course Commissioning and Collaboration Basics at the University of Michigan.

Flagello earned her Bachelor of Music in Composition from The Hartt School, and her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded the Dorothy Greenwald Graduate Fellowship. Gala’s works are self-published, with select works published by independent, eco-friendly publisher Just a Theory Press. Please visit www.galaflagello.com for more information.

 

Name note: Gala pronounces her name GAL-uh Flah-JEL-oh.

Connecticut Summerfest

Gala is proud to be the Festival Director and co-founder of Connecticut Summerfest, a nonprofit contemporary music festival that brings together talented emerging composers with some of the country's most inventive chamber music ensembles for a week of artistic exchange, culminating in nine world premieres each year. Connecticut Summerfest is proud to amplify voices of composers from historically underrepresented groups, specifically gender diverse composers and composers of color, through our Composition Program and concert programming.

 

Celebrating its 8th season in June 2023, the festival has:

- Premiered 71 new works

- Engaged 22 composition faculty

- Presented 17 chamber ensembles

Since the founding of Connecticut Summerfest while she was still an undergraduate student at The Hartt School, Gala's love of and experience in arts administration has flourished. She is thrilled to have created a platform for the music of emerging composers while providing opportunities for underrepresented artists.

Learn more about Connecticut Summerfest's 2023 season—including composition faculty Christopher Theofanidis, Gilda Lyons, Ivette Herryman Rodríguez, and Jeff Scott, and ensembles-in-residence Black Moon Trio, ~Nois, and Haven Trio—on our website.

Reading Nook

Gala is an avid reader of books of all genres, articles, and poetry. Here are some titles she's enjoyed lately, in no particular order:

Music/Arts-Specific

  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

  • Keep Going and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

  • Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa

  • Art Matters by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

  • Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

  • Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music by Angela Myles Beeching (or anything from her robust blog)

Nonfiction

  • 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write by Sarah Ruhl

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

  • The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness by Paula Poundstone

  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler

  • How to... Mindfulness Essentials Series by Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew

  • Originals by Adam Grant

  • In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

  • What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

  • Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

Fiction

  • Severance by Ling Ma

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

  • Mooncop by Tom Gauld

  • The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy

  • The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

  • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

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