Conductor & Clarinetist Michael Kissinger began his music career at age 16 when he produced his first major concert featuring the legendary jazz clarinetist Woody Herman and The Thundering Herd. He is co-founder and Artistic Director/Conductor of Bravo! Vancouver and is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival. Michael Kissinger is the United States Guest Conductor of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He has created the new Dubrovnik International Wine & Jazz Festival in partnership with the City of Dubrovnik, Croatia Airlines and other Croatian and American partners. For the past thirty years he has worked as a clarinetist, conductor, composer, producer and music educator.
As Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, Dr. Kissinger has produced more than 50 internationally acclaimed jazz and blues concert artists. The Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival is “…the largest festival of its kind in the Northwest…” (KATU Channel 2, Portland, OR) and is recognized by the City of Vancouver as the #1 Cultural Arts Event in Southwest Washington. The Festival has attracted more than an estimated 140,000 people from 19 states and Canada since 1998.
Michael Kissinger has performed as a conductor and clarinetist with orchestras, jazz ensembles and chamber groups in the U.S. and Europe including such diverse ensembles as the Oregon String Quartet, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet, Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, Heidelberg Opera Orchestra, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Ciompi String Quartet, Carolina String Quartet, North Carolina Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Stephen’s Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Ballet Orchestra, Raleigh Civic Symphony, and the New Washingtonian’s Jazz Orchestra, among others. He has performed on numerous commercial recordings, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’s Grammy-nominated album, Carnival, and his CBS Masterworks CD Quiet City.
Dr. Kissinger has taught at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Meredith College, the Eastman School of Music, Albion College, Summer Arts Institute of Rutgers University, Hochstein School of Music, North Carolina State University, Wake Technical College, Pamlico Community College, Rocky Mount High School and Junior High School and the New England Music Camp in Waterville, Maine.
He has produced CD recordings featuring the Bravo! Chorale: Hear My Prayer: The American Spiritual and a live recording of Handel’s Messiah—An Oratorio. His numerous choral music compositions are published exclusively by Sound Music Publications in Edmonds, Washington (www.smpjazz.com).
Michael holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina and a Master of Music from Michigan State University. He earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.