"...Michael is the best clarinetist I have ever worked with, and I've heard them all..."
- GRAMMY-winning Jazz Singer & Pianist Diane Schuur
"...Maestro Kissinger produced a spectacular concert...the Jazz Festival delighted the
packed audiences in the Rector's Palace..." - The Dubrovnik Times, Croatia
"...few capture a finer spirit than the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival. Its genesis
was a labor of love from a clarinetist and conductor Michael Kissinger..." - The Oregonian
MICHAEL KISSINGER - CONDUCTOR / CLARINETIST / COMPOSER
BIOGRAPHY - DR. MICHAEL KISSINGER
Conductor, clarinetist, composer, educator and producer 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 has been United States Guest Conductor of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in Dubrovnik, Croatia from 2006 and served as Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Jazz Festival for a five-year partnership with the City of Dubrovnik. He is the Conductor of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of Bravo! Concerts Northwest. He is the Founding Executive / Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival. For the past thirty years he has worked as a conductor, clarinetist, composer, educator and producer. His music company, Michael Vaughn Productions, has produced concerts throughout the USA, Italy, and Croatia.
Michael has been a conductor and clarinetist with choirs, orchestras, jazz bands and chamber groups in the U.S. and Europe including Jazz and Pop legends Jose Feliciano, Diane Schuur, Stanley Jordan, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet; and ensembles including Seattle Jazz Singers, Sno-King Chorale, 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 a North Carolina Visiting Artist and performed more than 200 concerts and educational programs throughout the state. He co-founded the American Music Festival in Beaufort, NC, with current Artistic Director and pianist Barbara McKenzie. The Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019. He has performed on numerous recordings, including the GRAMMY-nominated Wynton Marsalis recording Carnaval, and Quiet City on the CBS Masterworks label.
As Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, Dr. Kissinger has produced concerts featuring more than 250 GRAMMY-winning and internationally acclaimed artists 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 regional jazz and blues bands and student ensembles. The Festival is “…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 25 states, China, Japan, Europe and Canada since 1998.
His choral music compositions are published by International Liturgy Publications (Nashville, TN) and Sound Music Jazz Publications. His chorale music ranges from children to adults. His most recent published music is “A Christmas Suite for Children” published by ILP, Nashville. He has produced two CD recordings featuring the Bravo! Chorale & Northwest Chamber Orchestra: Handel’s Messiah and Hear My Prayer: The American Spiritual.
As a producer and arts manager, Dr. Kissinger has raised and managed more than $7,500,000 for orchestras, choirs and jazz and concert arts programs over the past 30 years.
A dedicated music educator, Michael has taught at George Fox University (OR), the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (NC), Meredith College (NC), the Eastman School of Music Community Education School (NY), Albion College (MI), Hochstein School of Music (NY), North Carolina State University (NC), Wake Technical College (NC), Pamlico Community College (NC), Rocky Mount Middle and High School (NC), and the New England Music Camp in Waterville, Maine. Known as "Dr. K." to his students, Michael currently works as an Teaching Artist with the BRAVO Youth Orchestra in Portland, Oregon.
Michael 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 Greensboro.