B.S. (Mount Senario College); M.A. (Eastern Illinois)
Senior Lecturer in Percussion
Michael Holland is a classically trained percussionist who straddles the ephemeral boundaries between percussion, theater and movement.
He is a Senior Lecturer in percussion and artistic director of VORTEX percussion, a group he describes as “a playground of invention, a virtual sandbox inviting percussionists, actors, dancers, composers, engineers — artists of all stripes — to ‘play’ in the sand.”
As a producer of both innovative contemporary percussion music and great classic works, Holland is regarded for his ability to curate and create striking multifaceted percussion “events” that incorporate lighting design, staging, film and modern dance. A critically acclaimed 2012 celebration of composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham featured the extraordinary collaboration of VORTEX with members of the former Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Holland is passionately committed to fostering creative thinking while preparing percussion students for the rigors and opportunities facing 21st-century graduates, and this defines his drive to push the nature of performance beyond rote academic convention.
Holland's freelance classical percussion credits include numerous performances and recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera Orchestra, the American Composers’ Forum, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony, the Bolshoi Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and San Francisco Ballet. He has backed up Marvin Hamlisch, Andy Williams, Jerry Lewis, the Moody Blues and Doc Severinsen.
His theatrical percussion credits include: Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion (as featured taiko drummer and percussionist), Mary Ellen Childs’ CRASH, mime artist Michael Hennessy, Xelias Aerial Performance Company, Circus Juventus, and Aerial Fabricators. He has extensive experience with silent film accompaniment. At the invitation of the French government, he will present the Paris premiere of the restored original 1924 Ballet mécanique in 2016.
Holland did his undergraduate training at the University of Wisconsin and Mount Senario College, where he received his BS degree in Music Education. He received his MA degree in percussion performance from Eastern Illinois University. He completed several years of additional study with Paula Culp of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Earl Yowell of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Holland is an endorsing artist for Vic Firth Percussion.