Michael Compitello is a dynamic, “fast rising” (WQXR) percussionist active as a chamber musician, soloist, and teaching artist. 

Michael is dedicated to both honoring his instrument’s most important repertoire and creating dynamic new art through collaborations with composers, performers, actors, and artists in all mediums.   He has performed with Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Signal, Ensemble ACJW, and with members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Eighth Blackbird and So Percussion, while appearing in diverse locations such as the Darmstadt Summer Course, the LA Phil’s Green Umbrella Series, June in Buffalo, Mostly Mozart, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. 

Michael has worked with composers Helmut Lachenmann, Nicolaus A. Huber, David Lang, John Luther Adams, Alejandro Viñao, Marc Applebaum and Martin Bresnick on premieres and performances of new chamber works.  He also champions new and recent works for solo percussion in the US and abroad, organizing and participating in consortium commissions for works for solo percussion from composers such as Christopher Cerrone, Tonia Ko, Amy Beth Kirsten, James Wood, and David Crowell.

With cellist Hannah Collins as New Morse Code, Michael works to catalyze and champion the compelling works of young composers. Through long-term collaboration with colleagues such as Christopher Stark, Robert Honstein, Andy Akiho, Matthew Barnson Tonia Ko, Paul Kerekes, and Caroline Shaw, New Morse Code has created a singular and personal repertoire that reflects both their friends’ creative voices and their own perspectives.  In addition to performing, New Morse Code has worked with composers and performers at the University of Kansas, Austin Peay State University, The Catholic University of America and Cornell University, in addition to leading interactive performances at Community MusicWorks in Providence, the Geneva Music Festival, and Greenwood Music Camp. During the 2015-2016 season, New Morse Code will visit Washington University in St Louis, Furman University, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Michigan State University, performing new music for cello and percussion alongside workshops with composers, instrumental masterclasses, and other residency activities. New Morse Code were finalists in Concert Artists Guild’s 2014 competition, and coordinates Avaloch Farm’s New Music Initiative—a residency program in New Hampshire for performer/composer collaboration.

As an orchestral musician, Michael has performed with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and with conductors Pierre Boulez, Marin Alsop, Reinbert de Leeuw, David Zinman, James Conlon, Brad Lubman and Gustav Meier.

Michael is Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Kansas.  He previously taught at Cornell University and Mt. Holyoke College, and was Interim Lecturer in Percussion at UMass Amherst in the fall of 2012.   Michael earned an MM and MMA from the Yale School of Music, and a BM from the Peabody Conservatory where he studied with renowned percussionist Robert Van Sice.  From 2009 to 2010, Michael performed and studied contemporary chamber music with the Ensemble Modern and the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Frankfurt, Germany on a Fulbright Grant from the US Department of State. Michael is an Educational Endorser for Vic Firth Drumsticks and Zildjian Cymbals.

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"Mike Compitello shined, showcasing the virtuosity of Akiho’s composition and swinging his whole body across the marimba as he played."

-News House Syracuse

"[New Morse Code] are, it seems, not just playing for the future of music, but vibrantly living in and shaping it." 

-The New Haven Independent


"Stunningly Moving"

"Percussionist Michael Compitello is a stand-out of the evening"

-New Haven Review


"Each of this disc's works...speak eloquently and powerfully...Highly recommended."
    - Gramophone

 “A superb collection of recent chamber works, beautifully played.”

    - Sequenza21

“[A Message from the Emperor] though is an unqualified success. An essay on a Sisyphean mission given a messenger from a distant king (and equally impossible for the recipient), the setting of the text seems ideal as it develops into furious repetition, insistent, unyielding, and ultimately exasperated. “

    - Robert Carl, Fanfare

WQXR’s album of the week, January 5, 2015:

“ fast-rising percussionists Michael Compitello and Ian Rosenbaum have played alongside the best.” 

    -Daniel Stephen Johnson

New Music Buff: “Maybe Music Remains Forever, A New Martin Bresnick Disc”, Nov. 10, 2014:

A Message from the Emperor (2010) is another piece based on Kafka. This piece is scored for two speaking percussionists who play marimba, vibraphone and small tuned drums. This little narrative follows in the same basic tradition as the speaking pianist piece. The musicians speak sometimes separately, sometimes together coordinating their substantial duties on their instruments as well. The story tells of an important message that, as is characteristic in Kafka’s absurdist world, can never actually be communicated. It’s not clear if this (or, for that matter, the other tracks on this disc) is intended as political protest music but the analogies are certainly there if the listener chooses to apply them.

Modern Composition Reviews, January 2015:

“Percussionists Michael Compitello and Ian Rosenbaum take turns in reading lines from “A Message From the Emperor” while providing pulsing rhythms from a vibraphone and marimba, the ringing bell-like tones giving the piece a Chinese feeling appropriate to the story.”
    -Josh Ronsen

New York Times:

“This exciting recording of chamber works and piano pieces, mostly inspired by literary texts, should be a revelation to those who don’t know his work.”
    -Anthony Tommasini

The Big City: Best Classical Albums 2014:

“Bres­nick has been indis­pens­able as a teacher to the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of new com­posers, and his own music is sub­lime, with exquis­ite craft, an ear and heart for the beau­ti­ful, and a trans­par­ent, grace­ful and unself­con­scious con­nec­tion to the common musical mate­ri­als all around us. This is a superb col­lec­tion of recent cham­ber works, beau­ti­fully played.”
    -George Grella