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Research Fellow

Michael D. Golden

Professor of Music Composition and Theory, and Director of the Creative Arts Program at Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, USA.

Research Interests

My training and continuing first interests in music practice are in creativity, composition, and jazz improvisation. Work on my doctoral dissertation paper, “Towards a Humanistic Music Theory,” led me more deeply into studying world music, philosophies of music, and music cognition. These studies in turn have led me to exploring the relationships between music and ecology, understanding music as an activity of living beings in an ecosystem, as well as work in neuroscience, human development and evolution.


Born in 1952 in New York City, USA, Dr. Golden began learning jazz piano with Kenny Barron and Billy Gault at the Jazzmobile School.  He studied music composition and theory with Tomas Svoboda, William O. Smith, Diane Thome, William Bergsma, and Jonathan Bernard, and studied music history and ethnomusicology with Robert Trotter and Christopher Waterman. His compositions have been performed throughout the US and around the world, and include regional and national commissions and scores for film and theatre productions, along with numerous jazz works. As an educator, Prof. Golden teaches courses in World Music, Music and Ecology, Music Psychology, and Music and Peace, along with composition, improvisation, theory and computer music.

Academic Degrees

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Composition, University of Washington (1992).

Master’s Degree (M.M.) in Composition, University of Oregon (1981).

Awards, Honors and Accomplishments

First Prize, Guitar Foundation of America International Composition Competition, 1996.
Meet the Composer/Commissioning Music USA Award, 1997.
Other Commissions:
• It’s a Long, Long River commissioned by the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, 1997
• Echoes in Eternal Light (a setting of Ko-jyo-no Tsuki) commissioned by the Kansai 21st
Century Symphony Orchestra, 1998.
• Suite Ceremonial commissioned by Aliso Viejo Symphony Orchestra, 2001.
• Three Friends, for chamber orchestra, computer and jazz piano, commissioned by South
Orange County Chamber Orchestra, 2003.


“Musicking as Emergent Ecological Behavior: Linking Cognition, Culture and Neuroscience.” In Parncutt, R.,& Sattmann, S. (Eds.) (2018). Proceedings of ICMPC15/ESCOM10. Graz, Austria: Centre for Systematic Musicology, University of Graz: 168-171.

“Music Emergent: Autopoiesis and Connected Worlds.” University of California eScholarship, UC Irvine: A Body of Knowledge Conference. Retrieved from

“Musicking as Education for Social and Ecological Peace: A New Synthesis.” Journal of Peace Education 13, no3 (September 2016): 266–82.

“On Music, Interconnection, and Consciousness,” Peace and Policy, Vol. 15 (2010).


FramésetuDe, for solo guitar, Les Productions d’Oz, Montréal (2000).


Bidder to Better, on “American Music for Violin and Piano,” Nevelson Duo, Albany Records (2004).

The Sea Change, and Other Stories, on “Contemporary American Eclectic Music for the Piano, Vol. IV,” New Ariel Recordings (1997).

FramésetuDe, on “Bouquet,” Patrick Kearney, guitar, La Flame Records (1997).