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Music Amici

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  • Years Active: 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Michael Whalen was born in 1965 and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he played in a variety of orchestras, bands, and experimental performance groups. He studied music at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, and the University of Maryland. In 1987, he moved to New York City, where he composed television soundtracks and commercials; Whalen has composed music for over 1, 100 commercials, including award-winning campaigns for clients such as Coca-Cola, BMW, Pepsi, Nike, IBM, and GE.

In 1995, Whalen traveled to the Czech Republic to record a collection of symphonic and chamber works entitled Afraid of Thunder. The recording was performed by the Janacek Philharmonic under the baton of Dennis Burkhr and Music Amici, a chamber orchestra. Whalen's other chamber compositions (most are published and available for performance) include works for string quartet, a mixed octet, several pieces for string orchestra and soloists, and a commission for choir.

Whalen's strength is as a "visual" composer who can recreate action, vista, culture, and personality in music. He has scored a number of award-winning scores for television documentaries and themes for many major television networks; many of these soundtracks are available on the Narada Cinema label. Notable soundtracks include: Forever Wild (Disney), Turning Point (ABC), Titanic (Discovery), Web of Life (PBS), Childhood (PBS), Summer Stories (ABC), National Geographic Explorer (TBS), All About Me (Turner), Idols of the Game (Turner), Sea Power (PBS/NHK), Nature (PBS), and The Coming Plague (Turner Original Productions).

Whalen's film scores include Perfect Moment (winner of the Audience Award at the 1997 Utah Slamdance Film Festival), Tempest in a Teapot, Between Fire and Ice and Baggage.

Nightscenes, released in 1996 by Hearts of Space Records (look for his "sunrise" sequel in fall of 1997), showcases Whalen's abilities in electronic music, while North From Riverside is a 1997 recording with his jazz band, Open Door. Whalen has also produced albums from Windham Hill and Narada.

In 1995, Whalen started Spout Multimedia, which handles all aspects of his recording, film production, interactive, and web design projects. For nearly a decade, Whalen has donated his time, music, knowledge, and financial resources to Grammy in the Schools, UNICEF, Americares, the L.A. Aids Crisis, WWF, the American Rivers Project, the Sundance Institute, the American Music Center, the New York Philharmonic, and St. Andrew's School in Middletown, Delaware, where Michael is an alumnus of the class of 1984 and a trustee.