Michael Lieberman Bio


Michael Lieberman pursues a busy and varied career in music as a violist, teacher and arranger, performing in Chamber Music, Opera, from Symphony Orchestras to Cirque du Soleil, in Live Theatre, as Music Director, on the stage and behind the scenes. 

During the 2000/01 season, he performed for the World Premier production of Philip Glass's opera, "In the Penal Colony" written for a single string quintet that was on stage and in costume during the entire performance. With over a hundred performances in New York, Chicago and Seattle, the production was reviewed to critical acclaim. (http://www.philipglass.com/music/compositions/in_the_penal_colony.php)

In 2007 Michael was the Violist and Music Director for “Tempo of Recollection”, an innovative collaboration of Chamber Music, Dance, Drama, Projected Images and Sound set in a 1920s Prague dance-hall bringing to life the music of Czech composer and holocaust victim, Erwin Schulhoff. (www.TempoOfRecollection.com)

From 2011-13, Michael was the Assistant Music Director and Violist for Cirque du Soleil’s production, “IRIS, a journey through the world of Cinema” at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. As per usual with Cirque du Soleil, Michael was in full costume and extensive makeup, performing from the stage left opera box 20 feet above the floor.  With the musical score written by Danny Elfman, Michael is featured as the solo violist on the Soundtrack Recording. The production ran for over 500 performances including an appearance on the Tonight Show. (www.facebook.com/Iris)

Since 2013, Michael has been composing, arranging, writing and performing as an original member of Wet the Hippo. Wet The Hippo, nominated for Best Comedy in the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, is a collection of LA’s most twisted and uncontrollable performers in sublimely irreverent and beautifully chaotic live performance. A completely new approach to live performance in which the ensemble is directed in real time right in front of the the audience, Wet The Hippo will stop at nothing to make sure the audience is satisfied. The show, directed live by John Gilkey, long time lead clown for Cirque Du Soleil, stars nine performers including actors, improvisers, and comedians alongside Michael as the violist and sole musician. Wet the Hippo has performed all over the West Coast and toured through the US, as well as producing several short videos for the internet. (www.WetTheHippo.com)

Throughout 2016, Michael composed for and performed with “The Simple Simples” which performed throughout Los Angeles and Chicago. He was also the Music Director, Composer and Violist for “The Captain and the Squid” which had a sold-out run in Los Angeles.

From 2016-2018, Michael toured the country performing and participating in innovative educational outreach programs with the Chicago-based Chamber Music group Fifth-House Ensemble.

For 10 years, Michael was the violist in the Saint Helens String Quartet with performances in every major venue, on television and radio throughout Pacific Northwest including a residency at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, performances with the Colorado Quartet and all Cornish Faculty. The Saint Helen’s String Quartet released its debut recording in the Fall of 2015 featuring several pieces written for the quartet by Northwest Composers. (www.StHelensQuartet.com)

As an orchestral musician, Michael has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony, Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Oregon Symphony and has played principal Viola with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and Opera Santa Barbara to name but a few.

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Michael’s arrangement of Franks Bridge’s Romance was published by Stainer and Bell and recorded by Helen Callus. He was the co-editor of Helen Callus’s One-Step Scale System recently published by Carl Fischer. In addition he has created arrangements for many of the productions he’s been involved with including Cirque du Soleil and Tempo Of Recollection.  

From college to beginners, teaching has always played a large part in Michael’s professional life. On the faculty of Westmont College from 2012-2016, he has taught at Cornish College of the arts in Seattle, has coached for numerous Youth Symphonies in the Seattle area and in Southern California, adult amateur chamber music workshops, conducted the orchestra at Dos Pueblos High School and conducted high school musical theatre productions of Beauty and the Beast and Annie. In addition he maintains a Private studio of viola students.

Born and raised in Virginia, Michael studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and currently lives in Evanston,  IL.

For more information visit www.mdlieberman.com

747 words - April, 2019