Education and Background
Michael began studying the violin at age 5 and started teaching beginning violin students at age 13. He studied violin and pedagogy with Valerie Gardner (student of Jascha Brodsky and Ivan Galamian), with whom he wrote, edited, and performed for an instructional DVD series on violin technique. He has continued to cultivate his passion for helping students achieve a relaxed, comfortable technique, allowing them to produce a beautiful, expressive sound. His other teachers and mentors have included Levon Ambartsumian (student of Leonid Kogan and Igor Bezrodny at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory), Shakhida Azimkhodjaeva, Dawn Harms, and Jassen Todorov.
Michael earned his BA from the University of Georgia, where he received the highest scholarship to be part of Levon Ambartsumian’s studio. While working towards his degree, he taught at the Community Music School in Athens, Georgia. He went on to earn an MA from the University of Chicago, where he wrote a thesis on the philosophy of music and expression. In 2016, Michael moved to the Bay Area and has since been building his career as a freelance violinist and strings teacher.
Currently, Michael serves as Concertmaster with the Mozart 2 Mendelssohn Orchestra, a group within the San Francisco Civic Music Association, where he conducts and leads string sectionals. He also directs and coaches community chamber music nights with SFCMA. He also plays with the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony (sometimes as concertmaster) and the Sonoma County Philharmonic. He regularly performs chamber music and gives recitals in the Bay Area.
Michael has performed as a violinist and a violist in ARCO Chamber Orchestra, a group originally from Moscow and now based at the University of Georgia. With ARCO, Michael recorded music of modern and contemporary composers (including Astor Piazzola, Mikhail Bronner, and Efrem Podgaits), and performed at Carnegie Hall. He has also performed across the United States, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America.
“I believe that developing a love for music is inherently valuable and special. Learning music helps students develop discipline, social skills, listening and comprehension skills, math skills, and creative thinking that will apply to all other areas of their life. It’s a privilege as a teacher to watch students gain the confidence that comes with knowing a musical instrument.”