Mika Pelo

Current Fellow

Fellow: Awarded 2018

Field of Study: Music Composition

Competition: US & Canada

Swedish composer Mika Pelo is currently Associate Professor of Composition at University of California, Davis, and his music is published by Edition Peters, Germany. Mika writes music for soloists, chamber ensembles, and orchestras, with or without electronics. He holds a doctorate in composition from Columbia, and his principal composition teachers include Tristan Murail and Bent Sørensen.

Early successes include a nomination for the Gaudamus Prize in Amsterdam, Holland for his string orchestra piece Apparition, which was performed twice at the festival by the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra under the supervision of conductor and composer Peter Eötvös, and his exam piece from the conservatory, a Violin Concerto, performed by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Other musicians and ensembles that has commissioned or performed Mika’s music include members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and David Robertson, the Flux Quartet, the Mana Saxophone Quartet, Prague Moderne, Manfred Honeck, Pascal Gallois, Rohan De Saram, Miranda Cuckson, North Bohemian Symphony Orchestra, Serbian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Kwartludium (Poland), Wet Ink Ensemble, Daedalus Quartet, and others.

Pelo is inspired by the French so-called spectral composers and Scandinavian lyricism and describes his method of composition as “controlled dreaming.” The Strad magazine thinks that Pelo’s music “fashions a fascinating mosaic of sonorities,” and the Irish Times writes that Pelo’s music is built by “gestures that were once the province of the avant-garde … here pliably exploited by a sensibility that sounded decidedly romantic.”

Profile photograph by Peter Knutson