Classical, rock and jazz influences are fused into the compositions of San Francisco-based multi-instrumentalist and composer, Michael P. Dawson. Although he initially began as a Dylan-influenced guitarist, Dawson's music has increasingly veered towards the classical-rock sounds pioneered by such bands as King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Since making his last concert appearance, as a flute and saxophone player, in 1991, Dawson has focused on studio work. His debut album, The Brandnewbug Concerto, was released on the Elephant Shrew Music label in 1995.
A native of San Diego, Dawson began composing original music in the early 1970s. His first orchestral composition was performed by the Crawford High School Student Orchestra in the spring of 1973.
The recipient of a degree in biology from the University of California in San Diego, Dawson balanced his science studies with music training. His teachers included composer Pauline Oliveros, pianist Cecil Lytle, harpsichord player Anthony Newman and contrabassist Bertram Taretzky.
A scholarly music journalist, Dawson has written for Goldmine, Musician, Option and the All Music Guide. He describes his music as "cybernetic chamber music."