Dr. Michael Thomas Foumai

Lecturer in Music, Theory & Composition

The music of Michael-Thomas Foumai (b. 1987, Honolulu, Hawai‘i) has been described as “vibrant and cinematic” (New York Times) and “full of color, drama, and emotion” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). A prolific composer of symphonic music, performances of his orchestral works include those given by the Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Albany Symphony, Portland Symphony (Maine), Aspen Philharmonic, Sioux-City Symphony, Idaho Falls Symphony, New England Philharmonic, Alarm Will Sound, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and numerous university and youth orchestras across the United States. His chamber, vocal and solo works have been performed by the Dolce Suono Ensemble, Music from Copland House, The Chicago Ensemble, Ebb and Flow Ensemble, The Brass Project, Wellesley Composers Conference, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Ignace Jang (Violin), Derek Bermel (Clarinet), Joshua Roman (Cello), Johnny Gandelsman (Violin), Yuki Numata Resnick (Violin), Xiao Dong Wei (Erhu), and Ji-Young Yi (Gayageum).

The recipient of awards and prizes from many competitions and institutions, his honors include a Fromm Foundation Commission from Harvard University, the Music Teachers National Association Distinguished Composer of the Year Award, Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, three BMI composer awards, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, the American Prize, and was selected by Maestro Lorin Maazel as winner of the Composers Competition at the Castleton Festival.

His music has been recorded by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on Momentum 21: Music for a New Century (Albany Records) featuring the Shakespearian-inspired Lady Dark. Other recordings include In Paradisum on Born and Raised performed by guitarist Ian O’Sullivan and Auld Lang Syne Fantasy and Spiritus Mundi recorded by the Royal Hawaiian Band.

He holds degrees in composition from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (BM) and the University of Michigan (MM, DMA). His teachers have been Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty, Syd Hodkinson, Paul Schoenfeld, Erik Santos, Peter Askim, Byron K. Yasui, Donald Reid Womack, Takeo Kudo, Thomas Osborne, and has worked closely with Derek Bermel. He has participated in such festivals as the Sonic Festival (NY), Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong, June in Buffalo, Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Copland House CULTIVATE, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy, Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, Milwaukee Symphony Composer Institute, Wellesley Composers Conference, Shanghai New Music Week, Thailand International Composition Festival, Mizzou New Music Festival, Staunton Music Festival, Aeries Composers Festival (Colorado), Fresno New Music Festival, Red Note New Music Festival (Illinois), East Carolina University New Music Festival, and the EarShot and Underwood New Music Readings.

Dr. Foumai currently serves on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in the Theory & Composition area.