John Michel, in his twenty-eighth year as cello professor at Central Washington University, enjoys his eclectic career as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher.
In addition to regular solo recitals, he has performed Don Quixote, Shostakovich #1, Dvorak, Herbert, Elgar, Haydn D & C, Tchaikovsky Rococo, Maria Newman, Saint Saëns and Vivaldi E minor concertos. With his wife Carrie Rehkopf, he has performed the Beethoven Triple and Brahms Double Concertos, the latter performed last winter at the Kennedy Center Orchestra Hall with Nikolas Caoile and the CWU Orchestra. More recent collaborations were with Lawrence Golan and the Yakima Symphony; John Welsh and the SOGO Symphony; David Walton and the Rainier Symphony; R. Joseph Scott and the Sammamish Symphony; Ryan Heller and the Southwest Washington Orchestra; and Paul Elliott-Cobbs and the Everett Symphony.
In double series concerts, Mr. Michel has performed all of the six Bach Cello Suites from memory, and he regularly appears in the Seattle Bach Suite Marathon. In 2001, he was one of seven guest artists featured at the First Kobe International Cello Festival in Japan, where he gave a solo recital and masterclass as well as performed in the Grand Cello Concert with 750 other cellists from around the world. In 2015, he returned with five students to Gumi, Japan for the 1000 Cellists Concert. At the World Cello Congress III, he premiered the new Solo Cello Sonata “Othmar” by composer Maria Newman. He has published recordings on CD and for digital distribution including the Dvorak Cello Concerto, Shostakovich Cello Concerto #1, Bach Suites in G & C, Maria Newman Solo Sonata and numerous live recordings.
Mr. Michel is a founding member of the Kairos (formerly Kairos Quartet), which holds an endowed professorship as the resident ensemble of Central Washington University. Last year the Kairos collaborated with distinguished pianists Stephen Beus, Duane Funderburk and Peter Longworth as well as choreographer Shauna Goddard Barger, visual artists Mellasenah Nicole Williams and Rachel Kirk, and violist Michelle Rahn. In the previous twenty years, the Kairos Quartet has been regularly performing and teaching throughout the Northwest. Their last east coast tour included concerts in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania and a live appearance on Philadelphia’s WFLN radio. The Kairos Quartet has recorded the “Birthday of the Infanta” CD featuring works of Kairos violinist Maria Newman on the Raptoria Caam label. On occasion he substitutes in the cello section of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
He is the founder and former director of the Internet Cello Society, a cyber-community of cellists, that shares the knowledge and joy of cello playing with enthusiasts from around the globe. At one point, twenty thousand ICS members represented 84 different countries. He also serves on the board of the New Directions Cello Association. Regionally, he hosts the Central Cello Celebration, a special gathering of cellists from across the Northwest in October of even-numbered years.
During the summers, Mr. Michel performs and teaches at the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Italy, Music & More SummerFest in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kairos Chamber Music Lyceum, Marrowstone Music Festival and the Evergreen Music Festival. He also has been co-director and faculty at the Icicle Creek Music Festival and Institute. He has given masterclasses for the Banff International Orchestra Festivals; Olympia, Icicle Creek and Tacoma Youth Symphony organizations; the Seattle Cello Society and the Interlochen Arts Camp. The American String Teacher Association, Washington chapter, named him Outstanding College String Teacher in 1996. He serves on the board of the New Directions Cello Association.
His formal training includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and the New England Conservatory. Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio, Jeffrey Solow, Stefan Popov, Ned Johnson, John Lenz and Susan Ladley were his main teachers.
He is married to violinist Carrie Rehkopf, and he is father of three active young men. He enjoys tennis and strategy games including online chess.