Sandro Gorli studied composition with Franco Donatoni, at the same pursuing a university course in architecture; he eventually acheived his degree in piano.
After undertaking research at the RAI's Studio of Phonology in Milan, he studied orchestral conducting first in Milan and then in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky.
In 1977 Gorli became the founding conductor of the Divertimento Ensemble, which he still conducts, undertaking an intense performance schedule with the aim of spreading contemporary music throughout the world. Since 1990 he has also been the principal conductor of the Elision Ensemble of Melburne. With these two groups he has recorded fourteen CDs.
He has conducted the "Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana" during the première of the Low Simphony by Philip Glass. Conducting the "Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano G. Verdi" he recently recorded two CDs with Maderna's music.
Among his most noteable compositions, which are performed regularly in Italy and abroad, are: Me - Ti, commissioned by Bruno Maderna for the RAI Orchestra of Milan; Chimera la luce for vocal sextet, piano, chorus, and orchestra, which was first performed at the 1976 Royan Festival under the direction of Giuseppe Sinopoli; On a Delphic Reed for oboe, and seventeen players; Il bambino perduto for orchestra; Quartetto for strings; Le due sorgenti for chamber orchestra; Super flumina for oboe, viola and orchestra, written for the 1987 Babylon Festival; and Requiem for mixed unaccompanied chorus, written for La Chapelle Royale conducted by Philippe Herrewege (CD Harmonia Mundi).
Gorli's scores have been commissioned by: Milano RAI (1973), I Solisti Veneti (1975), the Gulbenkian Foundation for the Festival of Royan (1976), the French Cultural Ministry (1979, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1994), the Italian Foreign Ministry (1987), Radio France (1981 and 1988), LOrchestra Regionale Toscana (1990), the Elision Ensemble of Melbourne (1990 and 1994), the Geneva Summer Festival (1991), LAtelier du Rhin (1993), Japanese Winter Theater Festival (1997) and Agon (1997), the Curia Arcivescovile of Milano (1999).
Gorli received the 1985 European Prize for Musical Theater for his opera Solo. His second opera, Le mal de lune, debuted March 12, 1994 in Colmar and Strausburg.
Currently, he teaches composition at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan.