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Assistant Professor of Percussion
Arizona State University



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Michael Compitello is a dynamic, “fast rising” (WQXR) percussionist dedicated to commissioning and premiering new works that explore the sonic and expressive possibilities of percussion instruments.

He has developed sustained collaborations with composers such as Thomas Kotcheff, Tonia Ko, Amy Beth Kirsten, and Robert Honstein on new works, in addition to working with Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, John Luther Adams, Alejandro Viñao, Marc Applebaum, and Martin Bresnick on premieres and performances of new solo and chamber works. Currently, Michael’s project Unsnared Drum (released August 2021 on New Focus Recordings) seeks to reinvent the snare drum through new works by composers Nina C. Young, Hannah Lash, Amy Beth Kirsten, and Tonia Ko.

With cellist Hannah Collins as the “remarkably inventive and resourceful” (Gramophone) New Morse Code, Michael has created a singular and personal repertoire through collaboration with some of America’s most esteemed young composers. New Morse Code's 2017 debut album Simplicity Itself on New Focus Recordings was described “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” (Q2 Music). In 2019 they released the title suite of Matthew Barnson’s portrait album, Vanitas, on Innova recordings and collaborated with Eliza Bagg, Lee Dionne, and andPlay on and all the days were purple, Alex Weiser’s Pulitzer Prize-finalist work on Cantaloupe Music.

Michael is also a member of Percussion Collective, an ensemble dedicated to refined performances of contemporary percussion repertoire, with whom he performed as soloist with the Colorado Symphony, and on concert series across the country.

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 currently Assistant Professor of Percussion at Arizona State University. He previously taught at the University of Kansas, Cornell University and Mt. Holyoke College, and was Interim Lecturer in Percussion at UMass Amherst in the fall of 2012. Michael earned a DMA 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 proudly endorses Vic Firth Drumsticks, Zildjian Cymbals, Pearl/Adams instruments, Black Swamp Percussion, Beetle Practice Pads, and Remo Drumheads. For more information visit

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