Michael has been performing and studying music since he was eight years old. As a youth he started with voice and trumpet playing in various bands and choirs during his school years. In his early twenties he picked up the acoustic guitar and began to write songs and study music theory. For the past fifteen years Michael has performed and taught music to all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels how to play the mandolin. From traditional techniques like Bluegrass, Celtic and Italian to more contemporary sounds of Pop, Jazz, and Folk. In addition Gonzo teaches Mandola, Bazouki, and related instruments.
Hear Michael play mandolin and the music he produced for this PSA:
Michael is a seasoned musician that has performed [and studied] music since age eight. Through his school years [grades 4-12] he studied trumpet and voice playing or singing in concert band, jazz band, marching band, concert choir, vocal jazz ensemble, and more. In high school Michael was selected for all-state and all-county band and choir. He earned top scores at New York State Music Association (NYSMA) solo competitions. [Read full bio]In college Michael focused on music composition. He studied music theory and composition with Dr. Carol ‘Kia’ Sams and Roupen Shakarian at North Seattle Community College. At NSCC he was mentored in Jazz performance by legendary trumpeter and leader Fred Radke. On campus Michael led the studio jazz combo and played trumpet in the jazz big band. He served as music director and sound designer for Stage One Theater production of ‘Holy Ghosts’ by Romulus Linney. While enrolled he was awarded the Bill Muncie Music Scholarship three times. Under Emmy award winning composer Hummie Mann, he studied film composition at the PNW Film Score Institute.
Michael believes “a musician’s education never stops”. Since college he has continued to study privately with seasoned masters like guitarist Milo Petersen and legendary bassist, composer, and arranger Chuck Israels (Bill Evans Trio) [Read more about Michael’s experience].