A native of Brooklyn, New York, Anthony Gatto has developed a diverse body of music, often informed by literary and visual arts, exploring alternative narrative modes and structures, for opera, film, theater, and the concert hall. His cross-media works include the music and libretto for Wise Blood, after the novel Flannery O'Connor. Commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Wise Blood presents the shattered war veteran Hazel Motes preaching the Church Without Christ from the hood of his car. Originally conceived with a cross-media libretto, featuring second-line brass bands and singers moving through audiences congregated in a huge factory space with installations by Chris Larson, a "radio opera" version of Wise Blood was released in July 2020. Another 2020 radio opera release, also commissioned by the Walker Art Center, The Making of Americans (2008), based on the novel by Gertrude Stein, was released in August 2020. The Making of Americans radio opera presents Stein's spectacular, universalist language through personae that sketch three generations of American families.
Anthony studied music privately with Ornette Coleman in the 80s, later founding The Festival Dancing in Your Head celebrating his ideas and influences. Completing a doctorate in composition at the Yale School of Music in 2001, he has received fellowships and awards from the Fulbright Scholar Program (Berlin), New York Foundation for the Arts, the Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, Inc, an ASCAP Grant to Young Composers; residency fellowships at Yaddo, The Millay Colony for the Arts, Aaron Copland House, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Willapa Bay Artist-in-Residence program. He is an Associate Professor of Music at City University of New York.
Recent projects include Swerves in the Miracle of Being, an opera presenting a climate disaster odyssey of a young woman swept away in a flood from her love, awakening with amnesia floating at sea, trying to find her a way back home; adapting texts by Homer, Lucretius, Epicurus, and others; the film score for A Chest of Drawers, written and directed by Maxwell Nalevansky, was an Official Selection at the Brooklyn Film Festival 2019, and several other international film festivals in the U.S, Canada, and South America; klangfarbenmelodie for Ornette, commissioned by Duo Montagnard, performed in the U.S., South America and Europe.