The music of Michael Torke has been called "some of the most optimistic, joyful and thoroughly uplifting music to appear in recent years" (Gramophone). Hailed as a "vitally inventive composer" (Financial Times) and "a master orchestrator whose shimmering timbral palette makes him the Ravel of his generation" (New York Times), Torke has created a substantial body of works in virtually every genre.
Career highlights include: Color Music (1985–89), a series of orchestral pieces that each explore a single, specific color; Javelin, recorded both for Argo and for John William’s Summon the Heroes, the official 1996 Olympics album; Four Seasons, an oratorio commissioned by the Walt Disney Company to celebrate the millennium; Strawberry Fields, whose “Great Performances” broadcast was nominated for an Emmy Award; and two evening-length story ballets, The Contract, and An Italian Straw Hat, for James Kudelka and the National Ballet of Canada.
In 1998 Torke was Composer in Residence for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, for which he wrote and recorded Rapture, his percussion concerto, and An American Abroad, a tone poem.
In 2003 Torke founded Ecstatic Records and re-issued the Decca/Argo catalog of his works. Recent recordings include Blue Pacific, Tahiti, Miami Grands, Concerto for Orchestra, and the upcoming Unconquered, featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Three Manhattan Bridges, along with Winter's Tale—new concertos for piano and cello respectively—was released by Albany Records featuring Joyce Yang and Julie Albers as soloists, led by David Alan Miller and the Albany Symphony.
Upcoming projects include a recording of wind concertos alongside a bluegrass concerto for violinist Tessa Lark, and the continuing development of SENNA, an opera about the Formula-1 racing legend.