An imaginative pianist and unique composer, Mike Holober is emerging as one of the freshest voices in jazz. His skills as a composer have been ackowledged by the receipt of prestigous MacDowell Fellowships for both 2003 and 2004. International credits include a recent tour as guest composer, conductor and soloist with the world renowned Stockholm Jazz Orchestra. With his reputation in Europe steadily growing, his compositions are regularly programmed by the BBC Big Band in London and the R.I.A.S. Big Band in Berlin. He has recently been invited to Helsinki as guest composer and pianist with UMO, the National Jazz Radio Orchestra of Finland.
Mike's recordings as leader have both been released on Sons of Sound to critical acclaim. His small group debut, Canyon, features Tim Ries, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Scott Colley, and Brian Blade. His big band project with The Gotham Jazz Orchestra, Thought Trains, features Ron Carter on bass and John Riley on drums, along with an all star line up that includes Jon Gordon, Scott Wendholt, Tim Ries, Dave Pietro, Joe Magnarelli, and Dave Gilmore. A busy sideman on the New York jazz scene, Mike's recordings include Pete McGuinness' Sliding In, with Dave Liebman on saxophone, Chuck Bergeron's Cause and Effect, with John Abercrombie on guitar, and Coast to Coast, with Randy Brecker on trumpet, Charles Pillow's In This World, with Peter Erskine on drums, and Currents, with Tim Hagans on trumpet, and Dave Pietro's Now Becoming Then, with Brian Blade on drums. Recordings with Grammy award-winning saxophonist Nick Brignola include First Set: Live at Sweet Basil and the critically acclaimed It's Time. A regular performer at New York's premiere jazz venues, he has worked with the legendary Village Vanguard Orchestra and the Joe Roccisano Nonet.
Active as a composer in the contemporary classical idiom, his recently commissioned works include "Views From a Train," for the American Saxophone Quartet's release, The Commission Project. The ASQ is composed of members of the New York Philharmonic, and the work features Larry Combs, principal clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "Road Trip," for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble, was premiered by New York Philharmonic saxophonist Dave Demsey. "Toccata for Flute and Marimba" was commissioned by flutist Karen Demsey for her recent release with percussionist Greg Giannascoli Recollections From the Inland Sea. Mike currently holds commissions from the New York Saxophone Quartet and the International Horn Society, and is composer in residence of the newly formed Gotham Wind Symphony.
Mike's arrangements and compositions have been performed and/or recorded by The Village Vanguard Orchestra, the BMI Jazz Composer's Orchestra with Joe Lovano, The NewYorkestra, The U.S. Army Blues Jazz Orchestra, The Eastman Arranger's Festival Orchestra, Prism Saxophone Quartet, The Catskill Symphony Orchestra, The B.C. Pops Orchestra, The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, student groups such as The Eastman Jazz Ensemble and the Orchestra of the Conservatory in Innsbruck, Austria, and New York jazz groups such as The New York Trombone Conspiracy, The Brass Arts Collective, and Fundementia.
An active educator, Mike is an Assistant Professor at the City College of New York where he directs the big band and teaches jazz composition, arranging, sight reading, rhythm section, and coaches combos. Other current teaching activities include "Outreach," the Summer Jazz Workshop at Schwaz, Austria, and The Hartwick College Summer Music Festival & Institute. Mike regularly adjudicates and performs as guest soloist/conductor at educational festivals and his master classes in piano, composition, and group performance include a recent visit to The Royal Conservatory in Stockholm. He has been invited to give master classes at The Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and was in residence this past summer at the conservatory in Innsbruck, Austria.