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).
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).
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).
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.
The American Repertory Theater has commissioned a new dramatic oratorio based on Langston Hughes’ “The Black Clown,” featuring Bass-Baritone Davone Tines.
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 IU New Music Ensemble performs Five-Six-Seven-Eight again on their winter concert (Auer Hall, Bloomington).
The Indiana University New Music Ensemble performs Five-Six-Seven-Eight as part of the Midwest Composers Symposium (Auer Hall, Bloomington).
Cassidy Goldblatt, Bram Margoles, Ryan McDonald, and Kellen Degnan perform Cantorial Airs on the “write HEAR right NOW” series of new music concerts (Britton Recital Hall, Ann Arbor).
Michael delivers two papers at the Society for Music Theory national conference in Saint Louis, MO: “Structural Levels in South Indian Music” and “A Closer Look at Harmonic Prolongation in Jazz Performance.”
Michael’s Cantorial Airs featured on a string department concert at the University of Michigan.
The Silver Keys Trio perform Michael’s Trio for Flute, Bassoon, and Piano at the Center for New Music in San Francisco (September 30), San Jose State University (October 1), and Sacramento State University (October 2) as part of their 2015 California tour.
The Indiana University New Music Ensemble will perform Five-Six-Seven-Eight in November 2015 as part of the Midwest Composers Symposium in Bloomington, Indiana.
The Eighteenth Street Singers perform Michael’s Herbst at their tenth anniversary concert at the Sixth and I Synagogue, Washington, DC.
The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers perform My River Runs to Thee on the Minnesota Centennial Showboat on the Mississippi River, as the culminating event of their “River Songs and Tales with Mark Twain” tour.
Michael is commissioned to compose a new choir and band anthem for Harvard University’s commencement exercises (to be premiered in 2017).
The Naples Philharmonic Orchestra performs excerpts of Five-Six-Seven-Eight as part of their Family Concert series.
Michael will compose a new chamber work to be premiered at Carnegie Hall as part of the 2015/2016 New York Youth Symphony First Music Commissions.
Michael appears as a pianist at Castleton, accompanying Davone Tines at the A Time to Break Silence benefit event hosted by Alec Baldwin.
Anna Rae Schierbeek performs Michael’s “Prelude” for solo cello at the Schneebeck Concert Hall, University of Puget Sound.
Michael’s new orchestral version of Five-Six-Seven-Eight is premiered by Yaniv Segal and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra at performances in Bonita Springs and Marco Island, Florida.
The 21st Century Consort premieres Michael’s new arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s “Night in the City” at the Smithsonian Institute.
The University of Michigan’s Contemporary Directions Ensemble, conducted by Christopher Kendall, performs Michael’s arrangement of “Blackbird” at Britton Recital Hall in Ann Arbor.
The Minnesota Orchestra perform Freylekhe Tanzen on their “Future Classics” concert at Orchestra Hall in Minnesota, broadcast live by Minnesota Public Radio.
Five-Six-Seven-Eight is featured on Chicago Public Radio’s Relevant Tones.
The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers perform My River Runs to Thee at four different Minnesota cities as part of their “River Songs and Tales with Mark Twain” tour.
The 21st Century Consort will be premiering Michael’s new arrangement of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” at the Smithsonian Institute. Click here for more details.
Ken Kiesler and the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra record Rhapsody in Maize and Blue at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Check out the fantastic YouTube video here!
Michael’s new work, Five-Six-Seven-Eight, premiered by Alarm Will Sound at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival.
The Aurea Silva Trio will be premiering Michael’s Trio for Flute, Bassoon, and Piano at the White Lake Chamber Music Festival in early August.
Michael’s new commissioned composition, My River Runs to Thee, will be premiered by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu and the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers on their upcoming “River Songs and Tales with Mark Twain” tour around Minnesota.
Michael has been commissioned by the Concord Chorus to write a new choral-orchestral work for their 2015-2016 season.
Michael’s Three Wallace Stevens Songs are premiered by Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers in Merkin Hall, NYC, on a program featuring premieres by Thea Musgrave and others. Click here to see the listing in the NY Times.
The Minnesota Orchestra is back! Michael’s Freylekhe Tanzen will be featured on a “Future Classics” concert during the 2014-2015 season.
The University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Kiesler, performs Rhapsody in Maize and Blue at the University of Michigan “Collage” concert at Hill Auditorium, featuring Michael as piano soloist.
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 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 NYYS First Music commission for a new chamber work to be premiered at Carnegie Hall, a choral-orchestral setting of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poetry for the Concord Chorus, a new work for choir and band for Harvard University’s 2017 commencement exercises, and a dramatic oratorio based on the poetry of Langston Hughes 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 will give 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.