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


October 2016

Paolo Debuque and Canticum Novum perform Sed Virtutum Gradibus at Hankinson Hall in Ann Arbor.

August 2016

Under the baton of Lina Marcela Gonzalez and Valentina Peleggi, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra premieres Michael’s new orchestration of Five-Six-Seven-Eight at the Cabrillo Festival‘s “In the Works” concert.

July 2016

The University of Michigan Concert Band has commissioned a new work based on South Indian musical influences, slated for premiere in the fall of 2017.

The Masterworks Chorale have programmed Oseh Shalom for SATB Chorus and String Orchestra on their 2016-17 season, conducted by great friend Kevin Leong.

May 2016

The Boise Philharmonic has programmed Five-Six-Seven-Eight for their 2016–17 season-opening concert, conducted by the electric Aram Demirjian

Kevin Leong and the Concord Chorus premiere Uriel, a twenty-minute choral-orchestral work based on the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson, at their 70th anniversary concert (May 21).

The New York Youth Symphony performs Michael’s Sonata da Camera for violin, cello, clarinet, and piano at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall (May 4).

April 2016

Michael is named a composer fellow at the 2016 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (July 31–August 13). It will be an especially exciting event, marking Maestra Marin Alsop’s 25th (and final) year at the helm.

The incomparable Davone Tines performs Michael’s arrangement of “We Shall Overcome” at the Castleton Festival‘s fourth annual Time to Break Silence event (April 15).

The New York Youth Symphony performs Michael’s Sonata da Camera for violin, cello, clarinet, and piano at Symphony Space in New York City (April 19).

Oriol Sans and the Contemporary Directions Ensemble perform Michael’s Five-Six-Seven-Eight on at Britton Recital Hall in Ann Arbor (April 7).

March 2016

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

The Silver Keys Trio perform Michael’s Trio for Flute, Bassoon, and Piano at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX (March 9) and at the Texas Flute Society’s National Flute Day in Dallas, TX (March 12).

February 2016

Arie Lipsky and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra have programmed Freylekhe Tanzen for performance in their 2016–17 season.

Five-Six-Seven-Eight has been awarded the inaugural Brehm Prize in Instrumental Composition at the University of Michigan.

January 2016

The American Repertory Theater has commissioned a new dramatic oratorio based on Langston Hughes’ “The Black Clown,” featuring Bass-Baritone Davone Tines.

December 2015

Michael’s article “Structural Levels in South Indian Music” is published in Vol. 21, no. 4 of Music Theory Online, the online journal of the Society for Music Theory.

Cassidy Goldblatt, Bram Margoles, Ryan McDonald, and Kellen Degnan perform Cantorial Airs in a master class with Geri Walthers of the Takács Quartet.

The Indiana University New Music Ensemble performs Five-Six-Seven-Eight again on their winter concert (Auer Hall, Bloomington).



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 performances include ensembles such as the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, the 21st Century Consort (the resident new music ensemble of the Smithsonian institution), the Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers, and the New York Virtuoso Singers. Current projects include a new work for choir and band for Harvard University’s 2017 commencement exercises, a new wind ensemble work for a consortium of concert bands led by the University of Michigan, and an opera based on Langston Hughes’ “The Black Clown” for bass-baritone Davone Tines and the American Repertory Theater. 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 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.

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.

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