Michael Pugliese

Michael Pugliese

One of the great percussionists, Michael had a close artistic relationship with John Cage. This led to his recording of Cage’s ETUDES BOREALES on Mode’s first release, made at the suggestion of Cage and recorded under his supervision. Michael gained prominence as a long time touring musician with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company where he played alongside David Tudor and Takehisa Kosugi. Pugliese died on the morning of 4 November in New York City.

A graduate of SUNY Buffalo, Michael studied with legendary percussionist Jan Williams. There he also met and worked with Morton Feldman, Yvar Mikhashoff and Nils Vigeland. Michael was a core member of the Bowery Ensemble, directed by Vigeland–a leading New Music ensemble based New York during the 1980s. He also appeared with numerous other New Music ensembles and an active international career as a soloist. As a composer, he wrote numerous works, including the popular PEACE TALKS for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and scores for Bill Young and Dancers. His love for rock music lead Michael to perform with numerous bands and a successful national tour with JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR.

He leaves behind a large recorded legacy with Mode Records, with additional recordings on New World, CRI and Second Hearing. His last recording, in a percussion ensemble work of Lou Harrison under the direction of Jan Williams, will appear on HatArt. Michael’s solo percussion debut concert, PERKIN’ AT MERKIN, remains a landmark percussion disc including many of the greatest percussion solo works and his raucous arrangement of Henry Mancini’s PETER GUNN THEME for percussion quartet.

Michael was a great motivating force among New Music musicians. His energetic and important presence will be greatly missed.

Michael Pugliese on Mode Records:

Michael Pugliese: Perkin' at Merkin -- works of Cage, Feldman,
Norgaard, Vigeland and Mancini -- with Bill Trigg, Chris Nappi and Kory Grossman. (mode 25)

John Cage: Etudes Boreales and Ryoanji -- with Frances Marie Uitti and Isabelle Ganz. (mode 1/2), a 2-LP set limited edition of 200 signed and numbered by John Cage, $100).

Cornelius Cardew: The Great Learning -- with Essential Music.
(to be released)

Luciano Berio: Folksongs and Circles -- with Christine Shadeberg and Musicians Accord. (mode 48)

Marc Farre: Margaret Maybe. (mode/avant 003) (EP)

Anne LeBaron: Rite of the Black Sun -- with the New Music Consort.(mode 30)

Peter Maxwell Davies: Le Jongleur de Notre Dame -- with Opera Sacra conducted by Charles Peltz. (mode 59)

Yvar Mikhashoff: The Windwife -- with Paul Schmidt, Isabelle Ganz and ensemble conducted by Eric Oña. (to be released)

Bernadette Speach: Shattered Glass (mode 16)