Hailed for her “… sensitive, flexible, and tempestuous dexterity,” (Fanfare Magazine) pianist Michelle Schumann has built a reputation for evocative and moving performances that are infused with unique energy and zeal. Winner of the 2006 Janice K. Hodges Competition for Contemporary Music, Michelle’s programs feature meticulously integrated selections of classic and contemporary repertoire producing performances that are “smart, irresistible, and utterly captivating” (Austin-American Statesman). Recent international performances have taken her to the Cité de la Musique-Paris, Conservatoire de Gabriel Fauré, and Conservatoire de Maurice Ravel in France; Birmingham Conservatory and St. Mary’s Cathedral-Haxby in England; the Roxy Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Salzburger Dom Cathedral and Konzervatorium Wien in Austria.
Michelle’s most irresistible qualities as a performer include her unabashed musical expression and her ability to connect with audiences. Her performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue conducted by Peter Bay of the Austin Symphony was named the #1 Classical Arts Event of the Year by the Austin Chronicle. Additional accolades include awards for “Best Instrumentalist” and “Best Chamber Music Performance” given by the Austin Critics Table. While deeply steeped in the creative-cultural community of her hometown, Michelle has also been a featured performer at international festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest, Ethos Contemporary Music Festival, San Angelo Piano Festival, Fayetteville Chamber Music Festival, International Festival Institute at Round Top, Long Beach Opera Festival, Bang-on-a-Can Summer Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art, Banff Festival of Music and Sound, Snake River Chamber Music Festival, Victoria Bach Festival, Victoria International Festival, and Tanglewood.
Since 2006, Michelle has served as Artistic Director of the Austin Chamber Music Center where she “… is fearlessly expanding our definition of chamber music” (Austin-American Statesman). Following her ground-breaking first season with the Austin Chamber Music Center, she won multiple awards from the Austin Critics Table including the coveted award for “ Body of Work/Season.” Praised for “… her whip–smart sense of programming” (Austin-American Statesman), Schumann’s specialty is developing unexpectedly integrated and thought-provoking programs. Her brand of performance includes an enthusiastic interplay with the audience where she shares surprising insights about the music, composers’ lifestyles, and the social context of music performed. Her trademark includes bringing diverse music together under a blanket of narrative cohesion — producing not simply concerts, but events. Michelle has enjoyed performing these concerts with some of the finest musicians gracing the world’s stages, including clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, violinists Anne Akiko Meyers, Soovin Kim, Charles Wetherbee, and Brian Lewis; cellists Clancy Newman and Sara Sant’Ambrogio; and string quartets including the Tokyo, Jupiter, Fine Arts, Cavani, Carpe Diem and Chiara String Quartet. Michelle’s other collaborations include the Meridian Arts Ensemble, American Repertory Ensemble, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and Long Beach Opera.
Michelle is Artist-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor where she is the founder and Artistic Director of the Hillman Visiting Artists Series. She received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Texas at Austin and additionally holds a Young Artist Diploma from Cleveland Institute of Music and a Performance Diploma from the Vienna Conservatory. Her principal teachers included Anton Nel, Gregory Allen, Marilyn Engle, and Olga Radosavljevich, with additional teaching mentors including Emmanuel Ax, Peter Serkin, Ursula Oppens, Anne Epperson, and James Dick.