I am a percussionist, music-lover, chamber musician, collaborator, teacher, curator, and writer.

My mission is to advocate for the efficacy of contemporary music in contemporary society and to build community around the arts.

 To do so, I:

  • Commission and develop dynamic, ground- breaking new music

  • Highlight new and recent music through carefully curated performances and high quality recordings

  • Teach and mentor students to be strong advocates for their passions and skilled collaborators

  • Organize and lead performances of important works for percussion

  • Write in myriad media to highlight the creative process

  • Document new works and unique interpretations of canonic percussion repertoire.

In each case, my work is driven by a desire to collaborate with my talented friends and colleagues.

Read more about some of my projects above, and more about me below

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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. 

New Morse Code's debut album Simplicity Itself was released in 2017 on New Focus Recordings. Praised as “an ebullient passage through pieces that each showcase the duo’s clarity of artistic vision and their near-perfect synchronicity," (I Care if You Listen) and "a flag of genuineness raised" (WQXR), Simplicity Itself was featured on Spotify's Top Classical of 2017 Playlist and WQXR's New Sounds.  New Morse Code was a finalist in the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition and recipients of a 2015 Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America with composer Christopher Stark.

In addition to performing, New Morse Code has worked with composers and performers at universities across the country, 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. New Morse Code are Assistant Directors of the Avaloch Farm Music Institute, a residency program in Boscawen, New Hampshire designed to provide resources for performers and composers collaborating on new works. 

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 DMA, MMA, and MM 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 endorses Vic Firth Drumsticks, Zildjian Cymbals, and Pearl/Adams Instruments.

Press Materials

Full Bio (PDF / DOCX)

Short Bio (PDF / DOCX)

CV Available Upon Request


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I’m happy to work with these companies and recommend their percussive products: