Beginning his cello instruction at the age of 8, Michael spent the majority of his early years under the guidance of Nancy Hambleton-Torrente, current director of music for the Yorktown public school districts in Westchester county. During his undergraduate years, he attended Colgate University where he received a B.A. in both Music and Psychology. While at Colgate, Michael had the privilege of studying with cellist Florent Renard-Payen, founder and director of the esteemed Tarob Cello Ensemble. Upon graduation, Michael continued his studies at Montclair State University where he received an Artist Diploma in performance. Under the guidance of Nicholas Tzavaras of the Shanghai String Quartet, Michael performed two solo recitals for the John J. Cali School of Music before further pursuing his studies in the studio of Marc T. Johnson of the Vermeer Quartet. From 2012 to 2014, Michael served as principal cellist of the Symphony Orchestra at Hunter College while concurrently earning a Masters degree in Music Education. He graduated with summa cum laude honors in 2014 and began his teaching career with the New York City Department of Education later that year.
At present, Michael is director of Orchestral activities at P.S. 205 Clarion in Brooklyn N.Y. and principal cellist of the Riverside Orchestra on the upper west side of Manhattan. He runs a full private teaching studio and actively gigs in and around the greater New York City area. He has also played in numerous master classes for world renowned cellists such as Lynn Harrell and Andres Diaz, and has had the privilege of working with esteemed conductors such as Marietta Cheng of the Southern Finger Lakes Orchestra, Paul Hostetter, Chair of Orchestral Activities for the Schwob School of Music, and Rueben Blundell, current Conductor and Music Director of the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra, the Hunter Symphony and the Riverside Orchestra.
While Michael does enjoy a busy academic and teaching schedule, he believes that part of the joy of being a working musician is having the ability to share his love of music with others, something he feels both honored and privileged to be able to do.
*** Lesson Details ***
My teaching philosophy is one that tailors to the specific needs, interests and abilities of each individual. Throughout my years of private instruction, I have learned that no two individuals learn and/or think the same way. Thus, for some students I have found the Suzuki method to be highly effective, while for others I have been more comprehensive with my instruction, incorporated scales, etudes, sonatas, concerti and Bach suites for a more well rounded approach. Regardless of the methodology employed, all of my students will attest that I set clear and high expectations for every lesson, yet am very understanding, friendly and approachable right from the start. My goal is to provide every individual with the tools necessary for becoming a well-rounded musician, so that they too can share their love for music with others.
*** Studio Equipment ***
Two music stands and chairs.
*** Specialties ***
While I do specialize in classical instruction, I am able to instruct students in a variety of genres, including Jazz, Pop, and alternative rock. In addition, I tend to tailor my lessons to the needs of my students. If they are more comfortable learning by rote, then this is how I tend to instruct. My lessons are loosely structured by beginning with scales, moving on to etudes, then finishing with Bach suites, a sonata and/or a concerto.
Orchestral Director, P.S. 205 Clarion
Founded in 1907, NAfME is among the world’s largest arts education organizations. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers.