Michael Zell is a percussionist who is uniquely at home within orchestral, chamber, and solo musical settings. He has served as Acting Associate Principal Timpanist and Section Percussionist with the Honolulu Symphony, and has also been an extra or substitute percussionist with the Houston, Kansas City, and Charleston Symphonies, among others. From 2012 to 2014 he served as Principal Percussionist with the Florida Grand Opera.
Michael grew up outside Baltimore, Maryland and attended the Peabody Conservatory. While an undergraduate student, he took his first professional audition and won, subsequently serving as Principal Timpanist with the Annapolis Symphony for five seasons. During this time, he also earned a Masters Degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music. Upon graduation, Michael moved to New York, earning a fellowship with The Academy program of Carnegie Hall and the Juilliard School.
Michael is active as a chamber musician, having performed with groups like So Percussion and Ensemble ACJW and having toured China with the Yale Percussion Group. He is currently a member of the Miami-based contemporary ensemble “NuDeco” and was awarded a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation to present Mauricio Kagel’s theatrical percussion trio “Dressur” in Miami in 2016.
As a soloist, he has been featured at the Kennedy Center as well as the Xenakis Festival in Austin, Texas, the Bass Art Museum in Miami Beach, and others. Currently, Michael is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at Boston University studying with Timothy Genis, Principal Timpanist of the Boston Symphony.