Michelle received her Bachelors in Music with honors from the Cole Conservatory of Music in Long Beach, CA under the tutelage of Dr. David Garrett. She continues her studies with a substantial scholarship to the internationally acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.
Mission Viejo, CA
By the time she was in high school, Michelle knew music was her calling. After jumping from violin and flute in her early years to jazz guitar, bass, and cello, she began to think of cello as her primary instrument. In 2002, she started her musical journey playing in Orange County's finest youth ensembles, including the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, where she got to meet Yo-yo Ma! She also began to form bands with her high school friends, some of which also went on to become incredible performers. In 2005, Michelle received the National Orchestra Award for excellence in cello, and during her senior year, she was given the "Semper Fidelis" Award for Excellence in Music from the US Marine Corps. The summer after her graduation, she had the privilege of traveling to New York to play in Carnegie Hall.
Long Beach, CA
Her music degree was fulfilled with honors at the Cole Conservatory of Music on the campus of CSU, Long Beach, where she studied with Dr. David Garrett of the LA Phil. Her musical education includes mentorships with Dr. Maggie Parkins, Joseph Mendoes, and the revered late jazz cellist and pianist, Freddie Katz, about whom she has also written an ethnography. Throughout her education, Michelle has performed in masterclasses with Peter Marsh, Alexander String Quartet, Dr. Janet Crouch-Shulman (M.AmSAT), and Mark Summer.
In 2007, Michelle received several grants and scholarships, including the Tanya-Reed Gardner Memorial Scholarship for excellence in music at the collegiate level. In 2009, Michelle was a featured in a solo recital for the Orange County Philharmonic Society. In 2011, she, along with the rest of the Cole Conservatory New Music Ensemble had the privilege of hosting the famed experimental composer Christian Wolff and gave the world premiere of his work, after which he personally commended Michelle for her sense of innovation. Later that year, she was given a full scholarship to attend the CSU Summer Arts program "Classical/Jazz Connections", where she got to play from the original parts from the historic "Charlie Parker with Strings" recording sessions, explore chamber music in different styles and was introduced to the Kronos Quartet.
Michelle always knew that her love for cello was applicable to so many genres, but during her formal education, there were very little opportunities to study alternative styles--very few improvising cellists live in Los Angeles. In a search for the ultimate mastery, she began taking lessons in jazz improvisation, she has had many "friend-menors" who have helped her along the way including woodwind specialists David Wise, Rick Rossi, Ian Vo, Matt Otto, and, most notably, Noor Che'ree.
2017 is a year of intense growth for Michelle as she reaches away from her classical training to new areas of musical study. She attended an intensive called CelloBeat with the incredible master of contemporary musical styles, Mark Summer.
After freelancing for many years, Michelle has decided to pursue further education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Much to her surprise, she was offered a substantial scholarship which she accepted. She will begin her studies with the amazing faculty beginning in the Fall of 2017. In the interest of keeping up career momentum, she plans to travel to and from LA regularly.