Conductor, clarinetist, composer, and producer Dr. Michael Kissinger began his music career at age 16 when he produced his first concert featuring the legendary American clarinetist Woody Herman and The Thundering Herd.
He is Artistic Director of Bravo! Concerts Northwest and Conductor of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra. He is Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival. Since 2006 he has been United States Guest Conductor of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in Dubrovnik, Croatia and served as Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Jazz Festival in a 5-year project with the City of Dubrovnik. For the past thirty years he has worked as a conductor, clarinetist, composer, and producer.
Michael has been a clarinetist and conductor with orchestras, jazz bands and classical groups in the U.S. and Europe including Jazz and Pop artists Jose Feliciano, Diane Schuur, Stanley Jordan, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet; and ensembles including Oregon String Quartet, Spoleto Festival Orchestra dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Ciompi String Quartet, Carolina String Quartet, North Carolina Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Stephen’s Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Civic Symphony, and the New Washingtonian’s Jazz Orchestra. He toured for two years as North Carolina Visiting Artist and performed more than 200 concerts and educational programs throughout the state. He founded the American Music Festival in Beaufort, NC which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019. He has performed on numerous recordings, including the GRAMMY-nominated Wynton Marsalis recordings Carnival, and Quiet City.
Michael is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival. Under his leadership the Festival became “…the largest festival of its kind in the Northwest…” (ABC TV, KATU 2, Portland, OR). The Festival has attracted more than 150,000 people from 23 states, China, Japan, Europe, and Canada since 1998. Michael has produced more than 250 GRAMMY-winning jazz and blues artist concerts including: Al Jarreau, Allen Toussaint, Arturo Sandoval, Bela Fleck, Blind Boys of Alabama, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bo Diddley, Booker T. Jones, Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, Coco Montoya, David Sanborn, Diane Schuur, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Don McLean, Dr. John, Eddie Palmieri, Family Stone, Jane Monheit, Jean-Luc Ponty, John Hammond, John Pizzarelli, Jose Feliciano, Judy Collins, Kenny Loggins, Lee Ritenour, Los Lobos, Manhattan Transfer, Marcia Ball, Mavis Staples, Melissa Manchester, Nicholas Payton, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Poncho Sanchez, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ramsey Lewis, Regina Carter, Rita Coolidge, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Spyro Gyra, Stanley Clarke, Stanley Jordan, Take 6, The Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band, The 5th Dimension, The Rippingtons, The Temptations, The Yellowjackets, Toshiko Akiyoshi, WAR and others; as well as more than 100 local and regional bands and student ensembles.
His sacred and jazz choral music compositions are published by International Liturgy Publications (Nashville, TN) and Sound Music Jazz Publications (Oceanside CA). His choral music ranges from children to adults. His most recent published music is “A Christmas Suite for Children” published by ILP, Nashville. Dr. Kissinger has taught at George Fox University, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Meredith College, the Eastman School of Music, Albion College, Hochstein School of Music, North Carolina State University, Wake Technical College, Pamlico Community College, Rocky Mount Middle and High School and the New England Music Camp. He has produced two CD recordings featuring the Northwest Chamber Orchestra and Bravo! Chorale: Handel’s Messiah and Hear My Prayer: The American Spiritual.
As an arts manager, Dr. Kissinger has raised and managed more than $7,500,000 for orchestra, choir, and jazz programs.
He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music from Michigan State University, and his Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina.