Who I Am


Born in 1973 in Santurce, Puerto Rico to Cuban parents, composer Armando Bayolo began musical studies at the age of twelve. At sixteen he went on to study at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, where he first began the serious study of composition. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (B.M. 1995), where his teachers were Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner and Christopher Rouse; Yale University (M.M. 1997), where he studied with Roberto Sierra, Jacob Druckman, Ingram Marshall and Martin Bresnick; and the University of Michigan (D.M.A. 2001) where he studied with Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng and Evan Chambers.

Mr. Bayolo has been hailed for his “suggestive aural imagination” (El Nuevo Día) in works that are “full of lush ideas and a kind of fierce grandeur, (unfolding) with subtle, driving power” (The Washington Post). His “music combines the audacity of popular music, the verve-filled rhythmic language of Latin America, and the pugnacity of postmodern classicism into a heady, formidable concoction” (Sequenza21), and “deserves to be heard many more times, and in many more places. It is new, it is fresh, and it gets its message across” (The Charlotte Observer) “with quite a high degree of poetic expressiveness” (Music-Web International).

              Mr. Bayolo’s music is routinely performed throughout the world. Renowned collaborators include soloists Jeffrey Weisner (double bass), Cornelius Dufallo (violin), D.J. Sparr (electric guitar), Vicky Chow (piano), Erika Dohi (piano), Kathleen Suppove (piano), Natalie Spehar (cello); conductors Mei-Ann Chen Mei-Anne Chen, Tian Ng Hui, Thomas McAuley, Joseph Higgins, Christopher Westover, David Vickerman, Christopher Hisey, Julian Wachner, Carlo Boccadoro, Maximiano Valdés, and the late J. Reilly Lewis; and ensembles like Loadbang, the Society for New Music, the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, the Euclid, Beo, and Bleeker ST Quartets, Invoke, H2 Quartet, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, The Carolina Master Chorale, Orfeón San Juan Bautista, the Victory Players, Sentieri Selvaggi, Lontano, The Percussion Plus Ensemble, Hexnut, and orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the world. He has received important commissions from the Aspen Music Festival, the South Jutlands Symphony Orchestra (Denmark), the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de Venezuela, the Greater Connecticut Youth Symphony, the Western Piedmont Symphony, the National Gallery of Art, Washington Chorus, Washington Choral Arts Society, and the wind ensembles of San Jose State University, Rowan University, Montclair State University, The College of New Jersey, Hartwick College, Oregon State University, The University of Oregon, The Ohio State University, The University of Maryland, and The Eastman School of Music, among many others.

Mr. Bayolo has received recognition from organizations like the Aspen Music Festival, the Fromm Music Foundation, the Music Department at the National Gallery of Art, the Arts Councils of North Carolina and Iowa, The Minnesota Orchestra and American Composers Forum, the Cintas Foundation, the Consortium for a Strong Minority Presence, the all-Virginia Intercollegiate Band, the Festival Interamericano de las Artes (Puerto Rico), and the MacDowell Colony.

Mr. Bayolo is an “adventurous, imaginative and fiercely committed” (The Washington Post) advocate for contemporary music in American culture. From 2005-2021 he was the Artistic Director of Great Noise Ensemble, which he founded as a grass roots effort on the website Craig’s List, in 2005. From 2011-2014, of the New Music at the Atlas series for the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, which was hailed at the time as “a key destination for anyone interested in new American music” (The Washington Post).”

With Great Noise Ensemble, Mr. Bayolo led several world and regional premieres of music by a diverse group of composers, both emerging and established, like Joel Puckett, D.J. Sparr, Robert Paterson, Hannah Lash, Carlos Carrillo, Ryan Brown, David T. Little, David Smooke, John Adams, Michael Daugherty, Steve Reich, John Luther Adams, Frederic Rzweski, Poul Ruders, Ken Ueno, Gabriela Lena Frank, Martin Bresnick, Sean Doyle, Marc Mellits, Arlene Sierra, Eric Nathan, and Louis Andriessen. As a conductor of “precision, imagination and tangible electricity” (The Washington Post), Mr. Bayolo led Great Noise Ensemble to become the premiere contemporary music ensemble in Washington, D.C. and one of the most important new music ensembles in the U.S. He has specialized, particularly, in the music of Louis Andriessen, leading the first professional American ensemble performance of De Materie in 2010 and of La Commedia during the 2013-14 season as part of a week-long festival of Andriessen’s music he curated in honor of the composer’s 75th birthday in 2014.

Mr. Bayolo has been featured on Public Radio International’s Studio 360 broadcast out of WNYC in New York and on the NPR program Fresh Ink broadcast out of WCNY in Syracuse, WQXR’s Q2, as well as the Washington Post and the New York Times’ Opinionator Blog. He has contributed articles to New Music Box and Sequenza21, where he was a Contributing Editor until 2011. As an educator, he has served on the music faculties of Reed College, Hamilton College, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he coordinated the Outside the Box new music festival. From 2013-15, he served as guest faculty with the Charlotte New Music Festival. He is a 2018 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and the recipient of a 2011 Fromm Foundation grant from Harvard University, the 2008 Brandon Fradd fellowship in music composition from the Cintas Foundation, a fellowship from the Consortium for a Strong Minority Presence from 2006-2008 and various other awards and honors from the American Composers Forum, the University of Michigan, BMI, ASCAP and the arts councils of Iowa and North Carolina. His cello concerto, Orfei Mors and the cantata, Kaddish:Passio:Rothko, were each nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music. 

 Mr. Bayolo’s music can be heard on the Sono Luminus, Inova, New Focus, and Great Noise labels and is published by his own imprint, Olibel Music and available through Murphy Music Press and his web site, www.armandobayolo.com.