Michael studied percussion with Jim Petercsak at the Crane School of Music at the State University College of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. He later attended the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University under the tutelage of Keith Copeland and graduated in 1990 with a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies. Michael served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant to Dan Morgenstern at the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies. Michael has performed and/or recorded with jazz luminaries Gary Smulyan, Harry Allen, Dick Oatts, Steve Nelson, Sharel Cassity, Bruce Barth, Joe Locke, Rene Flemming, Gene Bertoncini, Marian McPartland, J.R. Monterose and Nick Brignola. He was a member of the Spike Jones Orchestra and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. He has toured the United States extensively, performing at numerous concert halls, colleges, clubs and festivals and has performed in Europe. In 2012, Michael went on a US State Department tour of Tunisia, Africa where he taught and performed with the Planet Arts Trio. After teaching High School Band and Jazz Ensemble in the Northern Catskill Region of New York State, Michael retired in 2015 after a twenty-five year tenure. He has served as the past president of the Albany Musicians Union and the Greene County Music Educators Association. He is currently a member of the National Association for Music Education and the New York State Band Directors Association. Michael is an Artist Endorser for Grover Pro Percussion Soultone Cymbals and Regal Tip Drumsticks.
Michael is currently the leader of three ensembles, Jazz Vibes, BOPITUDE and The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble. He has released five recordings to date. Downbeat Magazine picked BOPITUDE “Five and One” as one of the Best Albums of 2013. His most recent release, “Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland”, was an Editor’s pick in Downbeat Magazine and listed as one of the Best Jazz Albums of 2015 by National Public Radio and critics Ted Gioa and Scott Yanow.
In addition to performing with his own bands, Michael is a busy freelance musician performing with other jazz groups. Michael is a trained classical percussionist and performs in a wide variety of settings including playing percussion for Musicals, conducting jazz ensembles and work as a featured guest artist. Michael also teaches in his private music studio in upstate NY.
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