Michelle is a classically trained cellist, music teacher, contractor, and arranger in the greater Los Angeles area. With over a decade of orchestral, chamber, pop, rock, and jazz experience, Michelle is lauded for her versatility and adaptability on the cello.
By the time she was in high school, Michelle knew music was her calling. 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! 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.
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 Turtle Island's cellist, 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 meet the Kronos Quartet.
Through her educational performing experiences and her exposure to different styles in musicology courses, college was the time when Michelle discovered that her love for cello was applicable to so many genres, and she strives every day to know the many facets of musical culture. She believes the ultimate mastery comes from exploring the richness of the world and every different musical language it has to offer. She is currently studying jazz improvisation with woodwind specialists David Wise (Oberlin) and Rick Rossi (Grammy Award Winning artist).
Since her graduation from CCM, she plays regularly with traditional string ensembles, including Luna Strings West, Atlantic Strings, and the Pacific Coast Quartet. She has played with the Orange County Symphony, the Bakersfield Symphony, and the Southeast Symphony.
While she can hang with the traditional ensembles, her favorite music is the living stuff: contemporary pop, hip hop, film scores, EDM, rock, and more. She plays alternative styles of music with the electric, all-female string ensemble, Electric Angels. Michelle has played for orchestral and solo sessions for Riot Games' "League of Legends", she has participated in Hollywood Scoring's Future Session Players Clinic under the baton of Bruce Broughton, playing cues from major motion pictures.
Michelle has been featured in music videos for the American electronicore band, I See Stars, and has played onstage with the Columbian-American DJ, Erick Morillo. She has played with legendary hip-hop artist, Coolio. She has played sessions for major video games and prime time television. She was a consultant and stand-in for the character Janine (Ren Harris) on the Hallmark Channel original series, "The Eleventh", and has worked on set with Cloris Leachman and Florence Henderson.
She is currently the band cellist for the pop artist, Maisy Kay, cellist for the band MetronOhm. She is a section musician for the Loft Sessions, directed by composer Evan Chapman, which has been featured on NPR. She is a cellist, composer and photographer for The Journey Project, a collective of musicians and sound designers who travel the world and create sample libraries and tracks using sampled sounds captured on the field.
She is an NS Design artist and proudly endorses the fantastic NS CR4 cello, and has recently become an endorsed artist for Vivid Amps. Michelle has performed onstage with many esteemed musicians and continues to push forward toward a fulfilling career in the music industry.
Michelle spends much of her professional life contracting ensembles for events, sessions, and salons for VIP clientele. She contracts her own string ensembles for private events under the names Michelle Packman Music and session contracting with her business, Lushify, co-owned with violinist, Emily Lenck. Michelle recently contracted string players for the memorial service of the acclaimed WWE pro wrestler, Joanie "Chyna" Laurer.
Michelle has been teaching students of all ages since 2006. Her curriculum for students seeking an education in both classical and contemporary music is centered around the Suzuki Method, which fosters both technical ability and ear training. Classical training is supplemented with material by Sevcik, Mooney, Schroeder, Yampolsky, and others; contemporary music lessons are supplemented with material suited to the student's taste. Michelle's main instrument is the cello, which she teaches at all levels. Michelle also teaches beginning violin, viola, and bass, for which the curriculum is similar to cello, beginning piano, for which Michelle favors the Alfred courses, and guitar, for which she favors both the Shearer and Noad methods.
Notable students include Joanie "Chyna" Laurer. Many of her students have been accepted into prestigious youth orchestras across socal.
Note to parents of wiggly children: Michelle understands their wiggles and welcomes your wiggly child with open arms! Please see the "Lessons" tab of this site!
Away from the Grind...
Away from the buzz of music, Michelle spends her time studying music and photography, meditating, practicing yoga daily, and spending time with her family and friends. She is an avid fan of nerdy role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. She lives in West Los Angles with her partner, composer Sebastien Najand. She has a crippling love for animals and plans to visit some elephants in Thailand soon. Until then, she will content herself with online elephant videos!
If your are interested in learning more about Michelle's lesson, event, and session policies, please email her via the "Contact Michelle" page, and she will respond promptly!