Dr. Michael Kissinger
Artistic Director & Conductor
Dr. Michael Kissinger began his music career at age 16 when he produced his first concert featuring the legendary American jazz clarinetist Woody Herman and The Thundering Herd. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, and is co-founder and Artistic Director/Conductor of Bravo! Concerts Northwest. From 2006-2015, he was United States Guest Conductor of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in Dubrovnik, Croatia and served as Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Wine & Jazz Festival. For the past thirty years he has worked as a music educator, clarinetist, conductor, composer, and concert producer. He currently teaches on the music faculty of George Fox University. His production company, Michael Vaughn Productions, has produced concerts and events throughout the USA, Italy, and Croatia.
Michael has performed as a conductor and clarinetist with orchestras, jazz bands, and classical chamber groups in the U.S. and Europe, including Jazz and Pop legends Jose Feliciano, Diane Schuur, Stanley Jordan, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet; and ensembles including Oregon String Quartet, Spoleto Festival Orchestra dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, Heidelberg Opera Orchestra, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Ciompi String Quartet, Carolina String Quartet, North Carolina Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Stephen’s Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Civic Symphony, and the New Washingtonian’s Jazz Orchestra. From 1989-1991, he performed more than 200 concerts in the North Carolina Visiting Artist program. He founded the American Music Festival in Beaufort, North Carolina and was Artistic Director until 1992. He has performed on numerous recordings, including Wynton Marsalis’s GRAMMY-nominated album Carnival, and the CBS Masterworks CD Quiet City.
As Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, Dr. Kissinger has produced more than 250 internationally acclaimed jazz and blues concert artists including: Al Jarreau, Allen Toussaint, Arturo Sandoval, Bela Fleck, BeauSoleil, Bill Frisell, Billy Childs, Blind Boys of Alabama, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bo Diddley, Booker T. Jones, Bobby Shew, Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, Claudia Villela, Coco Montoya, David Sanborn, Diane Schuur, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Don McLean, Dr. John, Eddie Palmieri, Ed Shaughnessy, Ernie Watts, Family Stone, Four Freshmen, James Cotton, Jane Monheit, Jean-Luc Ponty, Joey DeFrancesco, John Hammond, John Pizzarelli, Johnny A, Jose Feliciano, Judy Collins, Kenny Loggins, Lavay Smith, Lee Ritenour, Los Lobos, Manhattan Transfer, Marcia Ball, Mavis Staples, Melissa Manchester, Nicholas Payton, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Poncho Sanchez, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ramsey Lewis, Regina Carter, Rita Coolidge, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Spyro Gyra, Stanley Clarke, Stanley Jordan, Take 6, The Gospel Hummingbirds, The Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band, The 5th Dimension, The Rippingtons, The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, The Temptations, The Yellowjackets, Toshiko Akiyoshi, WAR, and others; as well as more than 100 local and regional jazz bands. The Festival is “…the largest festival of its kind in the Northwest…” (KATU Channel 2, Portland, OR). The Festival has attracted more than 150,000 people from 23 states, China, Japan, Europe, and Canada since 1998.
Dr. Kissinger has taught at George Fox University, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Meredith College, the Eastman School of Music, Albion College, Summer Arts Institute of Rutgers University, Hochstein School of Music, North Carolina State University, Wake Technical College, Pamlico Community College, Rocky Mount High School, and the New England Music Camp. He has produced two CD recordings featuring the Bravo! Chorale: Hear My Prayer: The American Spiritual, and a live recording of Handel’s Messiah. His choral music is published by International Liturgy Publications (Nashville, TN) and Sound Music Publications (Edmonds, WA). Michael earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music from Michigan State University and his Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina.