has composed, directed, and performed music for concerts and theatrical
productions around the world. He has worked with symphony orchestras,
Avant-garde chamber music ensembles, African village drummers, opera companies, dancers and singers of the
Lakota (Sioux) nation, and with theater and dance companies in New York, as well as instructing hundreds of young people in the techniques of music and musical theater.
Having completed musical studies in Philadelphia (Temple University),
he became principal percussionist for the Philadelphia Composers' Forum,
a chamber ensemble that specialized in the performance of contemporary music. While with the Forum, he recorded and performed many new musical
works, including performing in the world premier of George Crumb's Lux Aeterna, as well as making the premier recording of his Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death.
Michael was principal tympanist
for the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra for two seasons (1976 – 1978)
and was principal percussionist for the Erick Hawkins Dance Theater. As
musical director and composer in residence for the Solaris Dance Theater,
he worked with Lakota (Sioux) dancers and singers and also with dancers
and singers of the Congolese National Dance Theater (1980 –1981).
At that time he developed musical ties with Jean Erdman’s Theater
of the Open Eye composer, Dan Erkkila, with whom he collaborated in composing music for Julie Taymor’s The
Way of Snow, presented at the Ark Theater in New York and
also at International Puppetry Conference & Festival, Washington D.C.
His musical direction and orchestrational contributions to Elizabeth
Swados’ The Beautiful Lady, helped garner the show the
1985 Helen Hayes Award for Best Play with Music. It was one of many collaborations
Michael has had with the playwright/composer over a 29 year period, including
his significant role in preparing vocal arrangements for Missionaries,
Ms. Swados' opera about the infamous murder in El Salvador of four American
Maryknoll missionary women in the 1980's (Missionaries was featured at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 1997 Next Wave
In 1981, Michael began a long-standing association with New York’s
La Mama Theater, participating as composer, musical director & performing
musician in LaMama/Great Jones Repertory Company's productions of Danton’s
Death, Mythos Oedipus, Jerusalem, The Monk And The Hangman’s
Daughter, Fragments of a Greek Trilogy, Seven Against Thebes, Dionysos
Filius Dei, Pabo & Ruisa, Queen Setsu, Carmilla, Seven (simultaneous
revival of six Greek myth productions plus the creation of a seventh,
Antigone, all performed 'in repertory' over a four week period),
Perseus, Herakles, Carlo Gozzi's Il Corvo (performed at the
2006 Venetian Festival Biennale and again in New York in 2008), and most recently Aesclepius. Since 1998, he has been Composer in
Residence at La Mama and has been a frequent international traveler with
the Great Jones Company, composing, directing and performing music at
theater festivals in Italy, Greece, Croatia, Austria, Serbia, Albania,
Taiwan and Japan, as well as directing the music for Great Jones Repertory
Company’s New York seasons at La Mama. Mr. Sirotta was twice nominated for the New York Innovative Theater Awards' Outstanding Original Music prize. In November, 2009, in collaboration with LaMama and the 11th Hour Theater Company, Michael composed the score for an authentic version of Aeschylus' Agamemnon, setting all of the Greek choruses to music in an elaborate 3 hour production involving a Greek chorus of 12, along with 3 principal actors.
From 1985 to 2009, Michael directed
the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s Kids on Stage
program on Staten Island. Over that period of time, hundreds of youngsters
(including the well known 'indie' singer/songwriter, Ingrid Michaelson) received instruction from him in the techniques of musical theater
performance as well as general vocal skills and harmonizing. He
arranged or composed all the music for Kids on Stage shows, which
included opera, operetta (including his original operetta Alice in
Wonderland which you can read more about HERE), musical comedy,
and other plays with music. For his work with this program, he was awarded the
Arts and Humanities Achievement Award for the year 2000, presented by
the Council Of The Arts & Humanities of Staten Island.
Currently, Michael is a member of the faculty of The College of Staten
Island (CUNY), where he lectures in World Music.