Composer and violinist Michael John Galasso passed away at his home in Paris, France, on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. He was 60. Funeral services were held Friday, Sept. 11, at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. A memorial Mass will be held at St. Aloysius Church in Baton Rouge at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. Galasso is perhaps best known for his theatre and film scores including Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wei's "In the Mood for Love" and French director Martin Provost's "Seraphine," for which he received a Cesar for best music in a film from the L' Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema (February 2009). His film score for Spanish directors Gemma Cubero and Celeste Carrasco's "Ella Es El Matador" is currently airing on PBS nationwide. A frequent collaborator with theatre director/artist Robert Wilson, Galasso composed scores for more than a dozen Wilson productions including: "A Letter for Queen Victoria" (nominated for a Tony in 1975); "Les Fables de La Fontaine" for the Comédie-Française in Paris (2004) and at Lincoln Center (New York, 2007); Strindberg's "A Dreamplay" (1998), voted best foreign theater production for the 1999-2000 season by the French Theater and Music Critics Society; "Quartett" (starring Isabelle Huppert and presented in Paris, Berlin, Milan, Athens and Geneva, (US premier in November, 2009 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival). Also noteworthy are his numerous sound/music installations, including the Giorgio Armani Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2000 (the first sound installation in the New York Guggenheim's history) and subsequently at the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, in 2001. He has scored for choreographers Lucinda Childs, Karole Armitage and Andy DeGroat. Galasso performed concerts extensively as a soloist and with his ensembles throughout the world. His latest solo concert at the Spoleto Festival in Italy (July, 2008) was described by the New York Times as a "a tour de force of stamina and harmonic invention." He was first violinist with numerous orchestras including the Santa Fe Opera and the New Orleans Philharmonic. Galasso recorded two albums for ECM Records, "Scenes" (1983) and "High Lines" (2005). His works are published in the United States through ASCAP and in France through SACEM. Born in Hammond in 1949, he was the son of the late Dr. Michael A. Galasso (former LSU professor of music and Concertmaster of the Baton Rouge Symphony) and Michaela Galasso Williams (former principal oboist with the Baton Rouge Symphony) and currently director for more than 40 years of the Montessori Children's House here in Baton Rouge. Michael John began violin study with his father at age 3 and his solo debut was at age 11 when he played Vivaldi's Concerto in A minor with the New Orleans Philharmonic followed shortly by a performance of Bach's Double Concerto with his father in Hammond. Galasso also studied at Oberlin and Dartmouth colleges. He is survived by his wife, Laura Revelli Beaumont; daughter, Catherine; mother, Michaela; sister, Marianne; and brothers, Paul, David and Mark. His daughter, Catherine, a choreographer and dancer, will also be presenting a work in her father's honor on Oct. 9, in New York City. A foundation to continue the performance of his music is being established by his daughter. For further information please contact a member of the family.
Published in The Advocate from Sep. 20 to Sep. 21, 2009.