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Michael Israelievitch
Michael Israelievitch
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
  • Country: United States

Hailed by The New York Times for his “infectious charisma” and by the Toronto Star as a “very stylish and subtle musician”, percussionist Michael Israelievitch has firmly established a reputation for his innate musicality and “electrifying” artistry (The Pioneer Press).

Michael is the Principal Timpanist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra – a position he has held since 2010. In high demand as an orchestral player, he has appeared as Guest Principal Timpanist on several occasions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as with the San Francisco Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and on tour in Europe and the United States with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, he has performed as percussionist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Kansas City Symphony.

As a percussion soloist, Michael has appeared with several orchestras, most notably giving the world premieres of new concertos by Kelly-Marie Murphy and Alexander Levkovich with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. During the 2011-12 Season, Michael gave his Minnesota concerto debut with the SPCO and conductor Roberto Abbado, performing James MacMillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel to critical acclaim. The Pioneer Press called it “the most theatrical concerto performance St. Paul’s Ordway Center may have ever hosted…[Israelievitch] successfully commandeering a 40-foot-long arsenal of percussion instruments with authority and admirable musicality.”

Michael has collaborated with artists including Martha Argerich, Measha Brueggergosman, Nelson Freire, and Peter Oundjian, and has performed chamber concerts at the Verbier Festival, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Chautauqua Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and in New York City at Alice Tully Hall, Bargemusic, and Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. He has premiered works by leading composers including Samuel Adler, Michael Colgrass, and Libby Larsen.

In 1999, Michael formed The Israelievitch Duo with his father, violinist Jacques Israelievitch. Since then, the two have commissioned dozens of works and have performed extensively in recital and with orchestra. In 2006, they released their first commercial recording, entitled Hammer and Bow.

Michael's performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and in Europe on BBC Radio 3, Radio Suisse Romande, and the ARTE television network. He can also be heard on recordings for Fleur de Son Classics and Vanguard Classics.

A former student of Daniel Druckman and Roland Kohloff at the Juilliard School, Michael completed his Master's Degree in 2007 at Boston University under the tutelage of Timothy Genis. Following these studies, and prior to joining the SPCO, he spent two and a half seasons as Timpani Fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach—an organization for which he has since returned as teacher and coach.

Michael presently serves on the percussion faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and has also taught classes at the Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar. In addition to being a Zildjian Orchestral Artist, he endorses Pro-Mark drumsticks and Evans Drumheads.

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