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Michael Downing

Lecturer in Percussion




BA, Fresno State University

MA, Fresno State University

Michael Downing is section percussionist with the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Stockton Symphony, as well as the founder of Orphic Percussion quartet. The quartet has received international acclaim and is currently in the process of producing their first album.

An active freelance musician, Michael has performed with virtually every orchestra in Central California as well as the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. For the last twelve years, he has been invited to play with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra in Grass Valley, CA. Michael also enjoys teaching private lessons and giving clinics at local schools, as well as being involved with many professional organizations. In 2012, as a member of the California Chapter of PAS, Michael was instrumental in re-establishing the competitive festival and solo competition which had not been held in California for nearly 30 years.

Downing has been a soloist with both the Phoenix Symphony and the Stockton Symphony performing Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu. The double percussion concerto written by Avner Dorman was premiered by Downing and fellow percussionist Graham Thompson in 2012. He has also been a soloist with several other orchestras performing the third movement of Eric Ewazen's Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra, most recently presenting the exciting finale for the prestigious Music al Parcs concert series in Barcelona, Spain. He has been featured as the vibraphone soloist for John Williams' Escapades with both the Adrian Symphony and Sequoia Symphony.

Michael Downing studied primarily with Jim Babor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Dr. Matthew Darling of Fresno State. While preparing for orchestral auditions, Downing has taken lessons with such notable percussionists as Tom Freer, Richard Weiner, Trey Wyatt, Michael Rosen and Rick Kvistad. He holds Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Fresno State University. Michael is a proud artist for Zildjian Cymbals, Freer Percussion, an Education Artist for Marimba One, and part of the Blackswamp Percussion Educator Network.