is a composer, pianist, theorist, and teacher based in Ann Arbor, MI.
Michael’s music draws from an eclectic brew of influences including jazz and New Orleans, Renaissance polyphony, Jewish liturgy and klezmer, and South Indian classical music. Recent and upcoming projects include premieres with the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers, the Concord Chorus, and the Aurea Silva Trio, as well as collaborations with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, the Jameson Singers, bass-baritone Davone Tines, saxophonist Eddie Goodman, and vina virtuoso Karaikudi S. Subramanian. In 2013, on the occasion of a historic partnership with the Gershwin family, the University of Michigan commissioned him to compose a mash-up of the University’s fight song “Hail to the Victors” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The resulting “Rhapsody in Maize and Blue” was premiered by Kenneth Kiesler and the University Symphony Orchestra in a concert featuring singer Audra McDonald. Michael has received recognition from BMI, ASCAP, and the American Composers Forum. His orchestral work “Freylekhe Tanzen” was selected for the upcoming 2015 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, young Michael frequently embarrassed his parents by singing loudly at restaurants. He earned his BA from Harvard in 2009, where he directed the Harvard Chamber Singers and founded and directed the Harvard Jazz Collective. As a jazz pianist, he has performed in concerts and master classes with Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Roy Haynes, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and many others. He spent the 2009-2010 academic year in Chennai, India studying South Indian classical singing and vina playing. While living in Chennai, Michael and his wife, 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 more information.
Michael is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Music Theory and Composition at the University of Michigan, where he has worked with Bright Sheng, Paul Schoenfield, Michael Daugherty, and Evan Chambers. He watched the Red Sox win Game 6 of the World Series at Fenway Park this past fall and can now die in peace.