Concert Works

Set Me As A Seal [2016]

Set Me As A Seal is a setting of verses from Song of Solomon. The setting of seal in ancient times involved using a heavy wax, pressed in with a signet ring or medallion. The seal was meant to convey the power of authority for the message-contained therein. The music represents, in some ways, the setting of a seal; long tones give way to faster moving sections, as if the words are being “pressed” into a musical landscape. As the piece concludes, the harmonic and melodic sequences fade into nothingness, symbolizing the receding of waters that are described in the verse. This piece is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, who always loved hearing the bold sounds of her Lutheran choir.


Beneath The Frozen Lake [2014]

Disappearing Quietly begins as a single static sonority emerging from a vast space. From this simple beginning, a slowly unraveling texture evolves into a pulsating tapestry of sound. As the piece unfolds, sounds are brought to life by an inner pulse that fluctuates against a constantly shifting surface texture. Throughout, waves of sound and variations of rhythmic density convey a sense of motion: alternately crawling and soaring across vast landscapes.

This recording is from the 2014 Festival of New Music, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville Florida. Dr. Marguerite Richardson conducting the Jacksonville University Orchestra.


Velour [2010]

Velour from Michael James Olson on Vimeo.


Heliocentric [2015]

Heliocentric is a work for microsound and clarinet. Throughout the piece, dense chromatic gestures spin out into long disjunct lines. These lines converge and diverge forming a contrapuntal texture that careens between metric uniformity and controlled chaos.

This piece was premiered at the 2016 SEAMUS National Conference in Statesboro, GA.


These 3 pieces form a complete set of microsound and video works that examine audio-visual counterpoint. Throughout each piece, musical gestures are echoed, transformed, and represented through visual gestures.

[IN] Pieces | Slivers [2011]

[in] Pieces | Slivers from Michael James Olson on Vimeo.

Emergence [2013]

Emergence from Michael James Olson on Vimeo.

Flux Beta [2015]

Flux Beta from Michael James Olson on Vimeo.