Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and big-band leader Mike Holober has proven versatility in a career that has seen him dedicated to both teaching and performing. Trained as a classical pianist and conductor, he began working as a jazz sideman and composer upon moving to New York City in 1986. His most prominent early association was as an accompanist for baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola, working alongside him in the late '90s before Brignola's death in 2002. Since that time, Holober has worked in small- and large-group contexts, writing original music that has put him in good company with fellow N.Y.C. chartsmiths. His modern jazz works have been performed or recorded by the hr-Bigband in Germany, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Airmen of Note, the Joe Roccisano Nonet, and the Prism and New York Saxophone Quartets. As an accompanying pianist, Holober has collaborated with Tim Ries and his Rolling Stones Project, John Pattitucci, Pete McGuinness, Dave Pietro, Charles Pillow, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Brian Blade, Scott Colley, John Abercrombie, Joe Magnarelli, Tim Hagans, Peter Erskine, and others. The Gotham Jazz Orchestra is his own big band, releasing Thought Trains featuring Ron Carter in 2005 and Quake in 2009. His first small-ensemble recording, Canyon, was released in 2003, followed by Wish List in 2006, both for the Sons of Sound label.
Holober was appointed as associate director of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, joining Bob Brookmeyer, Manny Albam, and Jim McNeely. He is the artistic director and conductor of the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, a nonprofit organization that performs a regular program of newly commissioned works each year. Holober represented the U.S.A. as a cultural envoy for the State Department in the summer of 2005 playing concerts in Venezuela, has been composer in residence for the Gotham Wind Symphony since 2004, and has been assistant professor at City College of New York since 1995, directing jazz ensembles and teaching courses in composition, in arranging, and for rhythm section. He is a multiple award winner of the MacDowell Fellowship, and has garnered commissions from the Ucross Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo Guest, the University of Michigan, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art funded by the Pew Charitable Trust. Other international credits include a tour as guest artist with the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, the RIAS Big Band in Berlin, and the UMO Big Band in Helsinki, Finland. Holober is an avid outdoorsman, hiker, and climber, inspired by his connection with nature translated into modern jazz music.