The impetus for Gitanjali began in the summer of 2010 when I took my family on vacation to Washington, DC. At the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, I found a display of a flute carved from the tusk of a woolly mammoth and dated to 35,000 years ago. When I saw the flute, I smiled at the thought of the seemingly longevity of musicians on this planet. I also thought about the ubiquitous nature of the flute. Not only is it an instrument that has been with us for at least 35,000 years, but also its presence is found in just about every culture in our world. It is also highly probable that at any time of the day or night, somewhere in the world, a flutist is picking up their instrument to make music. The word Gitanjali is an ancient Sanskrit word that means “song offering” or “pray offering of song.” Poet Rabindranath Tagore chose the word for his set of poems in 1910 and wrote in his first poem, “This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.” Gitanjali is an homage to all those flutist who eternally pick up their “little flute of a reed,” make music and carry us forward.
Michael S. Rothkopf is a composer of over 50 works of chamber, electronic, orchestral and vocal music. His compositions have been noted for their "remarkable sensuousness" and their evocative ability to create a "sense of time and occasion." He has focused on creating interactive compositions involving digital technology and artificial intelligence. Published by American Composers Editions, Dr. Rothkopf’s music has been performed by notable soloists, chamber musicians and ensembles such as William Anderson, Ulrich Eichenauer, Jean Kopperud, Tara Helen O’Connor, Cygnus Ensemble and the National Orchestra Association. He has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, Carnegie Hall, the National Orchestra Association and Columbia University. Currently a Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts – School of Music, Dr. Rothkopf teaches composition, music technology and other graduate courses. He lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina with his wife, Jeanne, his daughter Lydia and their cat, Cleopatra.