His works span many genres. In 1982, he won first prizes for composition and went on to win many more, including the Acanthes Prize in 1983, the Beethovenpreis awarded by Bonn in 1986, the Marescotti Prize (1986), both the Gaudeamus International Composers Award and the Henriette Renié prizes in 1988, and the Siemens-Förderpreis (1990). From 1986 to 1988, he was resident at the Cité des Arts in Paris, taking part in the computer music course at IRCAM. His next residency was at the Villa Médici (1988–89), home of the French Academy in Rome, followed by membership of the Istituto Svizzero di Roma in 1989-90, after which he became composer-in-residence at the Orchestre de Lyon (October 1991-June 1993). In 1993, Michael Jarrell was appointed professor of composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna.
In 1996, he became composer-in-residence at Lucerne Festival, while the 2000 Musica Nova Helsinki festival was dedicated to him. In 2001, the Salzburg Festival commissioned a piano concerto entitled Abschied. In the same year Michael Jarrell was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2004, he is named professor of composition at the higher Academy of Geneva.
He is regarded throughout Europe as one of the most important Swiss composers of his generation. He opened his first opera in the United States at Carnegie Hall in New York in March 2006. His "spoken opera" Cassandre, which is based on Christa Wolf's novel Cassandra, was performed at Ojai Festival, CA, June 2008. It was composed in 1994.
- Nicolas Verin, Francis Courtot, Michael Jarrell. "Congruences de Michael Jarrell. Suivi de L'utilisation de la CAO dans Congruences." 1990
- Mauricio Toro, Carlos Agon, Camilo Rueda, Gerard Assayag. "GELISP: A FRAMEWORK TO REPRESENT MUSICAL CONSTRAINT SATISFACTION PROBLEMS AND SEARCH STRATEGIES." Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology 86 (2). 2016. 327-331.
- Michael Jarrell: official website
- Excerpts from sound archives of Jarrell's works.
- "Michael Jarrell biography" (in French). IRCAM.
- Michael Jarrell at Musinfo – List of works and short bio