Composer Michael T Roberts specializes in music for voice: choral music, art song, and theater music. Among commissions from the Oakland Symphony Chorus, Accord Treble Choir, Pacific Edge Voices, and others, his music is steadily garnering attention from vocal ensembles across the country. In the 2017-18 season his works were performed in New York City, San Francisco, Berkeley, Albany, CA, Portland, OR, Lincoln, NE, New Hampshire, and Vermont, including a number of world premieres and commissions.
He spent his formative years as a songwriter and improviser on electric guitar in rock, jazz, and funk, where music is good if the melodies make you want to sing and the rhythms make you want to move. He brings these instincts to the concert hall, where music is good if it makes you think as well as feel, where tradition is deep but individuality is prized. Growing up in New Canaan, CT, he first experienced choral music through weekly hymn singing at the Congregational Church.
In his senior year at Dartmouth, he sang in a performance of Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil, planting a seed that took root deep in his soul. It was a passion for the power of the human voice—a power he felt multiplied exponentially when many voices joined to sing together. As that seed sprouted, grew, and flowered through the years, he dedicated his musical life to writing for voice. His mission is to inspire, enlighten, and entertain. His greatest joy is drawing people together with music, connecting listeners and performers with poetry, history, faith, meaningful stories, and sacred places.
Roberts received his M.M. in Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied under David Garner and studied choral writing and art song with David Conte. He received his B.A. in Music from Dartmouth College, where he studied composition with Kui Dong and guitar with John Muratore and David Newsam. He has also studied classical guitar with Gary Ryan at the Royal College of Music in London and jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and has been coached in classical guitar by the Beijing Duo, Peter and Zoltan Katona, Marc Teicholz, David Tanenbaum, Larry Ferrara, and Richard Savino.
Hes teaches guitar privately and serves as the kindergarten music teacher at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley. Still a Congregationalist at heart, he is also a practicing member of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and two children.