I have never had a teacher like you who I connected with so well and who taught me everything that I was missing in such a short time. You have really inspired me to be the best that I can be, but not only that, you equipped me with the tools to do so.

– Aspen Music Festival Student

The way you opened my eyes to the world of musical possibilities has been very inspirational. I truly appreciate your humor, teaching style, musical ability, professional recordings and priceless advice. You are the best teacher I’ve ever had…

– Catholic University of America Student


Michael’s Teaching Philosophy

“…To guide students on a course where they are able to realize their dreams of a life and career in music. I focus on an approach to the study, understanding, and performance of music through the concept of ‘music as language.’ Here, the aspects of string technique and nuance—such as tone color, articulation, dynamics, pacing, rubato, and vibrato—are conceived like vocabulary which help to tell the story and promote the fluency of expressive performance. The first step to crafting an interpretation is to define emotions and moods and then associate them to sounds, motives, sequences and phrases. The tools of this trade are then developed and based in the foundation work of scales, arpeggios, double stops, shifting, tone production and vibrato exercises. Spontaneity and risk-taking are then encouraged in performance to push the limits of expectation and discovery. With guidance in performance practice directed toward channeling this new musical fluency and improvisational expression, peak performance experience can then be achieved.”

As Associate Professor of Cello at The Catholic University of America, Principal Cellist for 27 consecutive summers of the Aspen Chamber Symphony, and Artist Faculty at the Aspen Music Festival, Michael works alongside and guides his students daily. He is dedicated to each student’s educational success. Many of Michael’s students are enjoying notable accomplishments including those as principal and section cellist in major symphony orchestras, faculty positions at universities, and careers as soloists and chamber musicians.


In addition to his devoted work in studio teaching and masterclasses, Michael loves to present seminars and lectures that demonstrate the importance of the “cross-pollination of art with other subjects. Doing so allows you to enhance your personal art by studying other arts.” Michael leads a variety of Educational Classes with the Aspen String Trio, most recently at the University of Baltimore, where they are Ensemble-in-Residence. These classes are called “Informances,” which are mini-concerts that incorporate performance and lecture/demo style information.

Recent classes that Michael has led include:

“Music As language” ~ Math Class, UB
“Interpretive Association” ~ Theatre Class, UB
“Music To Poetry” ~ Creative Writing Class, UB
“Creating Haikus To Music” ~ Creative Writing Class, UB

Read a recent discussion of one of the classes