is a composer, pianist, scholar, and teacher based in Ann Arbor, MI.



Michael’s compositional voice draws on an omnivorous brew of influences: jazz and New Orleans music, classical music old (Renaissance polyphony) and new, Jewish liturgy and klezmer, and South Indian Classical music.

Highlights of the 2016–17 season include commissions by the American Repertory Theater, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, a consortium of wind ensembles led by the University of Michigan, Harvard University’s Band and Choruses, and saxophonist Emmett Rapaport, as well as additional performances by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, the Boise Philharmonic, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Masterworks Chorale and Orchestra, and chamber groups around the United States.

In recent years, Michael’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles such as the Minnesota Orchestra, the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, the 21st Century Consort (the resident new music ensemble of the Smithsonian institution), the Concord Chorus and Orchestra, the Contemporary Directions Ensemble (UMich), the Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers, and the New York Virtuoso Singers.

Michael has received honors from organizations such as BMI, ASCAP, and the American Composers Forum. As a scholar, Michael’s research interests include the philosophy of music (especially aesthetics, epistemology, and ethics), pedagogy, early music, jazz, New Orleans music, and the classical music of South India. Current work includes a dissertation project on musical epistemology (the philosophy of musical knowledge). His scholarly articles have been published in journals such as Music Theory Online and Indiana Theory Review, and he has presented his work at regional and national conferences. In March 2016, Michael gave the keynote address at the Bowling Green State University Graduate Conference.

Michael spent the 2009-2010 academic year in Chennai, India studying South Indian classical singing and vina playing. While living in Chennai, Michael and Allie lived and worked at an NGO that provides a wide array of human services, and upon returning to the United States they founded a non-profit organization that sponsors education and living expenses for child victims of human trafficking. [If you are interested in learning more, please click here for additional information.]

Born and raised in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Michael is an unapologetic fan of Boston sports. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Allie, and young son, Ronan.


American Repertory Theater Commission

The American Repertory Theater commissioned a new evening-length musical show based on Langston Hughes’ dramatic monologue “The Black Clown,” starring bass-baritone Davóne Tines in the title role. In addition to composing the music, Michael will co-write the libretto with Mr. Tines. The work will premiere in the fall of 2018.

A Multitude of Angels Review Published

Michael’s review of Keith Jarrett’s new release A Multitude of Angels appears in the journal/periodical Music and Literature.

Knoxville Symphony Commission

Aram Demirjian and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra have commissioned a new work to kick off their opening weekend performances of the 2017–18 season.

Wind Ensemble Consortium Commission

Led by the University of Michigan Concert Band, a consortium of eleven wind ensembles across the United States has commissioned a new work based on South Indian musical influences, slated for premiere in the fall of 2017.

Harvard University Commencement Commission

Michael has been commissioned to compose a new work for SATB Chorus and Concert Band for Harvard University’s 366th Commencement Exercises.

Cabrillo Festival

Michael is named a composer fellow at the 2016 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (July 31–August 13), where his work Five-Six-Seven-Eight is featured in performances led by conductors Lina Marcela Gonzalez and Valentina Peleggi.

Premiere of Oratorio “Uriel”

Kevin Leong and the Concord Chorus and Orchestra premiere Uriel, a twenty-minute choral-orchestral work based on the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson, at their 70th anniversary concert (May 2016).

Carnegie Hall Premiere

The New York Youth Symphony premieres Michael’s Sonata da Camera for violin, cello, clarinet, and piano at concerts in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and Symphony Space in New York City (April–May 2016).

Brehm Prize and Performance

Michael’s Five-Six-Seven-Eight is awarded the inaugural Brehm Prize in instrumental composition. Oriol Sans leads the Contemporary Directions Ensemble in a performance at Britton Recital Hall in Ann Arbor (April 2016).

Keynote Address at BGSU Graduate Conference

Michael gives the keynote address at the Bowling Green State University Graduate Conference. As part of his residency, Michael also performs the first movement of his Fiddle Suite for cello and piano with Aleks Tengesdal.

Copyright 2013-17 by Michael Schachter. michael.schachter [at] gmail.com