Wayne State University Department of Music pays tribute to Matt Michaels

MM TributeWayne State University’s Department of Music continues its Centennial Series with a tribute concert presenting the music of the late Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State Matt Michaels. The event will take place on December 3 at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. Michaels was among the founders of the Jazz Studies program at Wayne State in 1979 and eventually became the director. He retired from WSU in 2007. The concert will be a presentation of his original compositions and orchestrations.

“He was a marvelous jazz pianist, arranger and composer,” said Russ Miller associate professor of Jazz Studies. “He was a revered teacher who influenced generations of musicians - and not just pianists. Many of his students have gone on to have successful careers in music.”

This concert is an outgrowth of Professor Miller's research into and archiving of Matt Michaels' music, particularly his orchestrations. A number of his pieces involve the use of the orchestra in combination with jazz trio, jazz big band, vocalists and featured instrumental soloists.

“For the Wayne State Department of Music, this is a unique opportunity to combine the orchestra with the jazz band in a joint performance - not just sharing a concert but performing as one ensemble” said Professor Miller.

These orchestrations were written and premiered in the mid-1990's and have not been performed since. This concert brings the music of Matt Michaels back into the spotlight. Additionally, as part of the archival process Professor Miller is producing a studio recording of these orchestrations as well as his own arrangements of some of Matt's original compositions with an anticipated release during spring or early summer.

For more information, visit music.wayne.edu or call (313) 577-1795.

More about the Centennial Series
The Department of Music is hosting a yearlong celebration starting this fall and ending next fall 2019. Major events and concerts are scheduled throughout the year to highlight the 100-year legacy of the department and will featuring works and performances by alumni, faculty and students. 

Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess: Concert Version
Detroit Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin featuring the WSU Centennial Choir.

  • Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center
  • Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

Purchase tickets at the DSO box office, by phone or online: (313) 576-5111 or www.dso.org

Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s 41st Classical Roots Celebration
The WSU Symphonic Chorus joins the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to honor and celebrate the contributions of African-American musicians and composers in classical music.

  • Friday, March 8, 2019 at 10:45 a.m. at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center
  • Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

Purchase tickets at the DSO box office, by phone or online: (313) 576-5111 or www.dso.org

About the Department of Music
Founded in 1918, the Department of Music has earned a reputation for excellence in the United States and abroad. Many members of the music faculty, including musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and some of the area's finest jazz and vocal artists, have toured throughout the world as performers, clinicians, conductors and composers. Likewise, students in the department's ensembles have won international competitions, toured Europe and Asia, and enjoyed repeated invitations to perform at major festivals and conferences. The department also is known for its preparation of music educators.

The Department of Music celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018-2019. Notable alumni include opera performer Dr. George Shirley and jazz great Kenny Burrell. Shirley was the 2015 National Medal of Arts winner and 2016 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Opera Association. Kenny Burrell was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts and Jazz Educator of the Year in 2005. The Department of Music is also home to the future Gretchen Valade Jazz Center.

About the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts
The College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University serves 2,500 students majoring in 17 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs through the James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of Music, and the Department of Communication. Wayne State University, located in the heart of Detroit’s Midtown Cultural Center, is a premier urban research institution offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 27,000 students. For more information, visit cfpca.wayne.edu or connect with us on social media @WayneStateCFPCA.


Contact: Leah Celebi
P: 313-577-1783
E: leah.celebi@wayne.edu

RSVP for the alumni gathering at goo.gl/E2TRMR.