An innovative performer, and educator, Michael Walker is re-thinking the performance of classical music today. He seeks to reimagine otherwise ordinary spaces as classical concert venues, to introduce contemporary music to new listeners, and to bolster his performance decisions with historical research. Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of New Mexico, Michael also serves as the hornist with the New Mexico Winds, Enchantment Brass Quintet, and Fiati Five.
As a champion of new music, Michael has commissioned over ten pieces for horn. Recent composer collaborations include Whitney George, Peter Gilbert, Cody Forrest, Eric Nathan, Jason Thorpe Buchanan, Carrie Magin, and Tonia Ko. This spring he will be premiering a new piece by Whitney George for soprano, horn, flute and piano in New York City.
To inform his decisions about performance, Michael studies historical precedents for creative concertizing. His research explores elements of successful Classical-era musical events that remain very much alive today, including intimate and comfortable performance spaces, musicians-as-curators of experiences, and variety in instrumentation and programming, made possible by the active participation of living composers. Michael harnesses these tenants to create unique and imaginative concerts, in particular with Fiati Five at Chamber Music Campania, a summer music festival that celebrates music-making in diverse spaces.
Michael is no stranger to traditional concerts types and orchestras. Prior to his appointment at UNM, he served as the second horn in the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and has performed with the New Mexico Philharmonic, Santa Fe Symphony, Performance Santa Fe, Utah Festival Opera, Bel Canto Institute, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, San Jose Wind Symphony, Chatter Music Albuquerque, and as a featured soloist with Musica Nova at the Eastman School of Music.
Michael grew up in California and holds a BM in Horn Performance from San Jose State University. He also holds an MM from the University of Northern Colorado and a DM from Indiana University with a minor in Music History. Past teachers include Jeff Nelsen, Dale Clevenger, Rick Seraphinoff, Marian Hesse, and Scott Temple. Michael currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his opera-singing wife and two dogs.