Solstice, by Welsh-born Hilary Tann, is the one duo on the CD, a pairing of pianist Eunmi Ko with marimbist Michael Skillern. An involved and imaginative work based on the writing of Adirondack woodswoman, Anne LaBastille, it is divided into the sections White Pines, Lilypad Lake, and Kestrel, bookended by preludes to spring and winter. Piano and marimba are perfectly paired here in the evocation of icy and woodsy tones, full of timbral variety and yet remarkably unified by these two fine players. New York Concert Review, 2018
Called a, 'Hidden Gem' by VoyageATL, Michael Skillern is a concert percussionist, educator, instructional designer and outreach specialist currently based in Dubai, UAE. Here in the UAE, Michael is Head of Music at SAES in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ex-Timpanist with the National Symphony Orchestra UAE, Co-Founder/Ed + Outreach Coordinator with ed-tech startup CommonTime Online, Adjunct Professor of Music at Allen University, and a frequent soloist/clinician in the United States, China, Hong Kong, South East Asia, and the Middle East.
As a performer Michael has appeared professional in many settings with groups and artists like: The National Symphony Orchestra UAE, McCormick Percussion Group, Kristen Chenoweth, The Venice Symphony, The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, The Florida Orchestra, The John's Creek Symphony, The Alpharetta Symphony, the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra and more. In 2022, Michael helped the NSOUAE premier the digital genre bending piece 'Android Opera' at Dubai's EXPO 2020 featuring an AI powered android solo vocalist. As a soloist himself, Michael has appeared alone across the United States, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2016, Michael made his concerto debut with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay performing Ittai Shapira's 'The Ethics'. His 2020 Percussion + Electronics tour to Xian, Wuhan, and Singapore was cancelled because of COVID-19. Michael is the 2019 North International Music Competition Percussion First Prize Winner, 5th place winner in the Indonesian Brass and Percussion Competition, and was a National Assoc. of Negro Musicians Solo Competition Finalist in 2014. Notable summer fellowships won include SICPP (NEC) and Brevard Music Center. By the Spring of 2023, Michael will have completed a percussion + electronics UAE tour with dates at Dubai's Melody House, Dunecrest School, the American School of Dubai, Al Ain's UAE University, Sharjah's American University of Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi's New York University AD as part of the universities Manifold Festival.
He can be heard on Innova and Ravello Records (Naxos) with the McCormick Percussion Group and under his own name on all streaming platforms.
As an educator, Michael has delivered Percussion, Band, and General Music instruction to 1000s of students across the United States, Asia, Europes, and the Middle East at every age level. Michael is a very in demand clinician specializing in orchestral percussion techniques and new music. He has been a school music specialist since 2017, specializing building programs, events, facilities management, and music instruction across grade levels. As an instructional designer, Michael has designed live synchronnous and asynchronous educational/training resources for a myriad of companies and institutions. Michael received a BM in Instrumental Music Education from Georgia State University and a MM in Percussion Performance/Instrumental Conducting from the University of South Florida.
Michael Skillern endorses Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets.
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