Back to musicians

Michael Compitello, percussion

Michael Compitello is a dynamic, “fast rising” (WQXR) percussionist active as a chamber musician, soloist, and teaching artist.

Michael is dedicated to both honoring his instrument’s most important repertoire and creating dynamic new art through collaborations with composers, performers, actors, and artists in all mediums. He has performed with Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Signal, Ensemble ACJW, and with members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Eighth Blackbird, and So Percussion, while appearing in diverse locations such as the Darmstadt Summer Course, the LA Phil’s Green Umbrella Series, June in Buffalo, Mostly Mozart, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

Michael has worked with composers Helmut Lachenmann, Nicolaus A. Huber, David Lang, John Luther Adams, Alejandro Viñao, Marc Applebaum, and Martin Bresnick on premieres and performances of new chamber works. He also champions new and recent works for solo percussion in the US and abroad, organizing and participating in consortium commissions for works for solo percussion from composers such as Christopher Cerrone, Tonia Ko, Amy Beth Kirsten, James Wood, and David Crowell.

With cellist Hannah Collins as New Morse Code, Michael works to catalyze and champion the compelling works of young composers. Through long-term collaboration with colleagues such as Christopher Stark, Robert Honstein, Andy Akiho, Matthew Barnson Tonia Ko, Paul Kerekes, and Caroline Shaw, New Morse Code has created a singular and personal repertoire that reflects both their friends’ creative voices and their own perspectives. In addition to performing, New Morse Code has worked with composers and performers at the University of Kansas, Austin Peay State University, The Catholic University of America, and Cornell University, in addition to leading interactive performances at Community MusicWorks in Providence, the Geneva Music Festival, and Greenwood Music Camp. During the 2015-2016 season, New Morse Code will visit Washington University in St Louis, Furman University, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Michigan State University, performing new music for cello and percussion alongside workshops with composers, instrumental masterclasses, and other residency activities. New Morse Code was a finalist in Concert Artists Guild’s 2014 competition, and currently coordinates Avaloch Farm’s New Music Initiative—a residency program in New Hampshire for performer/composer collaboration.

As an orchestral musician, Michael has performed with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and with conductors Pierre Boulez, Marin Alsop, Reinbert de Leeuw, David Zinman, James Conlon, Brad Lubman, and Gustav Meier.

Michael is Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Kansas. He previously taught at Cornell University and Mt. Holyoke College, and was Interim Lecturer in Percussion at UMass Amherst in the fall of 2012. Michael earned a DMA and MM from the Yale School of Music, and a BM from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with renowned percussionist Robert Van Sice. From 2009 to 2010, Michael performed and studied contemporary chamber music with the Ensemble Modern and the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Frankfurt, Germany on a Fulbright Grant from the US Department of State. Michael proudly endorses Vic Firth Drumsticks, Zildjian Cymbals, and Pearl/Adams instruments.