About Gala


The music of composer Gala Flagello (b. 1994) “is both flesh and spirit, intensely psychological without sacrificing concrete musical enjoyment” (Lana Norris, I Care If You Listen). She is also the Festival Director and co-founder of the nonprofit contemporary music festival Connecticut Summerfest. Gala is a recipient of the Edward Diemente Prize for Excellence in Creative Activity (The Hartt School), the Artist Scholarship (Artists for World Peace), and the Dorothy Greenwald Graduate Fellowship (University of Michigan). She is the winner of the 2020 Sinta Quartet Composition Competition, 2020 Michigan Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composer Prize, and the 2017 Dulciana Vocal Ensemble (Dublin, Ireland) Call for New Works.


Gala is enthusiastic about collaborating with performers, educators, and artists of all kinds. She has received two EXCEL Enterprise Grants for her projects Educational New Music for Developing Voices (2017) and The Contemporary Solo Horn (2018). Her piece Self-Talk, which was premiered at National Sawdust in August 2018, will be featured on Vanguard Reed Quintet’s debut album, Red Leaf Collection (release: June 2020). Gala is also a three-time collaborator of DAMET Percussion, writing Precious Metals and Fragile Goods for Natural Beauty, a multimedia touring show that aims to demonstrate humans' impact on our environment.


Gala holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition degree from The Hartt School, a Master of Music in Composition degree from the University of Michigan, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan. Her major composition teachers have included Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, Evan Chambers, and Robert Carl, and she has studied horn with Susan Spaulding and David Wakefield. Gala's works are self-published, with select works published by independent, eco-friendly publisher Just a Theory Press.

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 elevate voices of composers from historically underrepresented groups, specifically gender diverse composers and composers of color, through our Composition Program and concert programming.


Now in its 6th season, the festival has:

- Premiered 43 new works

- Presented 10 chamber ensembles

- Engaged 15 composition faculty members

- Hosted 13 lectures and workshops for festival composers

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 members of our field, including gender diverse composers and composers of color.

Learn more about Connecticut Summerfest's 2021 season—including composition faculty Carlos Simon, Ken Steen, Chen Yi, and Nina C. Young, and ensembles-in-residence Front Porch, Hub New Music, and ZOFO—on our website.


Gala's love of teaching began in 2016 with her first residency at a high school music program in Connecticut, giving lectures and masterclasses about music theory, orchestration, and what it means to be a composer today. Her excitement for education blossomed from there, as today she maintains a private studio of composition students at the high school and collegiate level. Gala is also the Graduate Student Instructor for the course Composition for Non-Majors (COMP 421/422) at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.


Gala is enthusiastic to help students grow a seed of an idea into a full-length piece, examine repertoire from Schubert to Saariaho, and incorporate non-musical elements such as visual art and technology into their work. She has guided students through the college admissions process, and has assisted with the preparation of submissions for score calls and competitions.

Interested in joining Gala's private studio? Send her an email.

"I grew immensely as a composer and as a musician in general during my studies with Gala. She brought her insight, experience, and depth of knowledge to each of my lessons with her, and constantly encouraged me to refine and improve both my compositions and my process. I am incredibly grateful for all of the guidance Gala has given me, and I highly recommend her as a teacher."

—Matthew Osterholzer

Composition Student 2019–2020

University of Michigan Bachelor of Music in Composition '24

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:


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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

© 2020 by Gala Flagello.