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Mike Holober

Described by Downbeat Magazine as “one of the finest modern composer/arrangers of our time” Mike Holober was awarded the 2022 American Academy of Arts and Letters Andrew Imbrie Award in Music.  His recent big band recording, "Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra:  Hiding Out" (ZOHO Music, 2019) was nominated for a 2020 GRAMMY® Award (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album), and features two of his extended works for jazz orchestra.

Trained as a classical pianist and conductor, Mike began his apprenticeship as a jazz pianist and composer after moving to New York City in 1986. He has released six recordings as a leader, and can be heard on over 70 recordings as a sideman.  His projects include The Mike Holober QuintetBalancing Act (a jazz octet with voice), The Gotham Jazz Orchestra, and most recently The Marvin Stamm/Mike Holober Quartet.  

Mike has served at the helm of some of the worlds most renowned large ensembles as director, conductor, composer, and arranger.  From 2007-2013 he was Artistic Director/Conductor of the Westchester Jazz Orchestra (WJO), and he served as guest Conductor/Arranger of the WDR Big Band (WestDeutsche Rundfunk - German National Radio Big Band, Cologne, Germany) in 2009, and 2014-2016.  From 2011-2015 he was Associate Guest Conductor of the hr-Big Band (Hessischer Rundfunk - Frankfurt, Germany).  

Mike is a full Professor at The City College of New York, where he has been teaching since 1995.  He also teaches composing and arranging at The Manhattan School of Music.  From 2007 - 2015 he was Associate Director of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop, where he taught with Director Jim McNeely. 


MacDowell Fellow (2003-2006; 2009; 2020) Ucross Foundation Fellow (2007; 2019) Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (2019) Corporation of Yaddo Guest (2005)


Steinway Pianos (Steinway artist)


Radio & Podcasts

Jazz and a Little Blues with Mike Holober and John Mayall

Read "Jazz and a Little Blues with Mike Holober and John Mayall" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

This show mixes a bit of blues and soul with jazz vocals, guitar, and large ensembles. Musicians involved include John Mayall, Mike Holober, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, and Karrin Allyson. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air (Mosaic) 00:00 DIVA Jazz Orchestra “Heart" from DIVA Swings Broadway (Diva Jazz) 00:50 Gil Evans Orchestra “Lunar Eclipse" from Hidden Treasures Volume One: Monday Nights ...

Album Review

Mike Holober & Balancing Act: Don't Let Go

Read "Don't Let Go" reviewed by Jack Bowers

With Don't Let Go, pianist Mike Holober and the octet Balancing Act seemed to have found an ideal way to cross-breed classical motifs and contemporary jazz to produce a pleasurable listening experience. Then he added lyrics. Granted, not all lyrics are superfluous—even those that are either nebulous or indecipherable, as is too often the case here. It's simply that some listeners may be more receptive to an alternative in the form of, say, Marvin Stamm's trumpet, Dick Oatts' or Jason ...

Album Review

Scott Reeves: The Alchemist

Read "The Alchemist" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Trombonist, composer and band leader Scott Reeves once performed a live concert at the City College of New York with his then quintet, which has now been documented as his newest offering entitled The Alchemist. However, new is not the operative word here, as this musical event took place on May 5th, 2005. While concentrating on compositions and recordings for his jazz orchestra over the last ten years, the pandemic provided Reeves with the opportunity to review the music he ...

Album Review

Scott Reeves Quintet: The Alchemist

Read "The Alchemist" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Devastating as it has been, the global Covid-19 pandemic has produced a few upsides as well, one of which is the rediscovery by versatile Scott Reeves of a concert that his quintet performed sixteen years ago, in May 2005, at the City College of New York. With time on his hands as a result of the scarcity of gigs during the pandemic, Reeves visited his archives and found the recording, which he never intended to release owing to audio issues. ...


The 4th of July

Read "The 4th of July" reviewed by AAJ Staff

The 4th of July Music and lyrics by Mike Holober Music. Publisher: Connect the Dots Music BMI. How do we get there from here? a child asks her eyes open wide no fear that distant shore where hope and love are law Sparklers in small hands parades and marching bands unfurl your hopes and let them fly Why reminisce lose yourself in this? here's why ...

Album Review

Marvin Stamm, Mike Holober, Mike McGuirk, Dennis Mackrel: Live at Maureen's Jazz Cellar

Read "Live at Maureen's Jazz Cellar" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Marvin Stamm, Mike Holober, Mike McGuirk and Dennis Mackrel; when musicians of that caliber gather onstage to record a live supper club session, even the diners snap to attention and harken closely lest any phrase or nuance eludes the ears. Such was the case on a December evening in 2019 at Maureen's Jazz Cellar in Nyack, NY (once home to the incomparable Zoot Sims) when the quartet held its audience in thrall for more than an hour as the tape ...

Album Review

Mike Holober: Marvin Stamm/Mike Holober Quartet Live @ Maureen's Jazz Cellar

Read "Marvin Stamm/Mike Holober Quartet Live @ Maureen's Jazz Cellar" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

One of the many things sorely missed in the 2020's COVID situation is that cornerstone of jazz—the live-in-a-club performance. Live at Maureen's Cellar provides a vivid recollection of what pre-plague joy we had.. This fine recording presents that intimate club vibe, offering engaging extended solos, ensemble (and audience) interaction, and the emotional range that jazz delivers uniquely in person. The four Aces—Marvin Stamm, Mike Holober, Mike McGuirk and Dennis Mackrel--offer seven selections: two fine Holober originals and ...

Read more articles

2020 GRAMMY® Nominee (Best Large Ensemble Album): Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra: Hiding Out "Holober has brought a profound artistic vision to bear on today’s jazz scene and confirmed his standing as one of the finest modern composer/arrangers of our time, in the tradition of Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer and Jim McNeely." — Ed Enright, DownBeat "Mike Holober leaps into the front rank of the most accomplished and inventive composers in jazz.” — Bob Bernotas, Just Jazz

Primary Instrument



New York City


Professor, City College of New York
Instructor, Manhattan School of Music
Associate Director BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop 2007-2015

Clinic/Workshop Information

Jazz Orchestra rehearsals (including teacher training) Composition and performance master classes

Jim McNeely
composer / conductor
Bob Brookmeyer
Gil Evans
composer / conductor
Jim Hall
Bob Mintzer
Tobias M. Hoffmann
composer / conductor



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Don't Let Go

Sunnyside Records


The Alchemist

Origin Records


Live at Maureen's...

Self Produced


Hiding Out

Zoho Music


Balancing Act

Palmetto Records


Maiden Voyage Suite

Self Produced


The Alchemist

From: The Alchemist
By Mike Holober

New Bamboo

From: The Alchemist
By Mike Holober


From: Hiding Out
By Mike Holober

When There Were Trains

From: Balancing Act
By Mike Holober



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