Music director, conductor, collaborative pianist, and educator Michael Sheetz is a versatile and rising professional in his field. A believer of the power of music to heal and build bonds of social capital and change, Michael, in the words of conductor Kent Tritle, has “that magic combination of talent, charisma, integrity and a willingness to do the hard work.”
Michael is the Director of Choirs at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he directs the 100+ voiced College Choir and select Chamber Singers Ensemble. As Assistant Music Director of Musica Sacra, New York City’s longest continuously performing professional choral ensemble, Michael conducts, prepares, and accompanies in performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He is the Music Associate at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, where he performs in and helps to administrate the acclaimed Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series. He also music directs and conducts in its liturgical music program with the Wallace Hall Family Mass Choir and Orchestra, Canticum Sacrum and the Parish Community Choir. Here he programs music to cultivate the spiritual life of the community and to feature and nurture the rising young musical talent in the parish. Some of his past engagements include credits at the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, and Lincoln Center Festival, and numerous previous appointments including Faculty Assistant at The Juilliard School, Assistant Conductor of the Fairfield County Chorale and as a choral scholar and accompanist at the Oratorio Society of New York.
Most recently, Michael conducted performances of the Mozart Requiem and Orff’s Carmina Burana at Hunter College. Michael helped prepare the Musica Sacra Chorus for performances of the NY Philharmonic live screenings of Amadeus, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and New York City Ballet performances of Stravinsky’s Les Noces and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other Lincoln Center collaborations include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Walton’s Henry V, Ives’ Symphony No. 4 and the complete choral works of Edgard Varèse at the Lincoln Center Festival. He has been the Assistant Choral Director at the New York Philharmonic for performances of Holst’s The Planets, and Associate Conductor for Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms at The Juilliard School. In the upcoming 2019-2020 season, Michael conducted Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Magnificat with the Hunter College Choirs, and the music of Rossini and Verdi with the Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola. He also played the Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle for Concerts at St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue.
As a conductor of new music, he has assisted in performance preparation with composers Meredith Monk, Michael Gilbertson, Jocelyn Hagen, Evan Fein, Frank Ferko, Julius Revie and Gisle Kverndokk. As a collaborator, Michael has worked with conductors Philippe Entremont, Alan Gilbert, Jane Glover, Pablo Heras-Casado, Bernard Labadie, Andrew Litton, John Nelson, Sir Roger Norrington, and Bramwell Tovey, among others. He has accompanied at the New York Choral Consortium, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, Voices of Ascension Chorus, College Light Opera Company, Middlebury Opera, Aspen Opera Theatre Center, Metropolitan Opera Guild, and Weill Music Institute, and he has performed at Weill Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space and the Kennedy Center. His playing has been featured in live broadcasts on WQXR and Vermont Public Radio, and as a recitalist he has performed with many singers, including Tami Petty, Mary Phillips, Sara Murphy, Jacob Scharfman, Danya Katok, Wendy Baker, Raquel Suarez Groen and Clarissa Lyons, cellist Arthur Fiacco and actress Tyne Daly. His playing can be heard on Eternal Reflections: The Choral Works of Robert Paterson, AMR label, and Angel with the St. Ignatius Children’s Choirs, MSR Classics. His collaborative playing has been called “consistently excellent” by the American Record Guide Review.
As an educator, in addition to his Faculty Assistant position at The Juilliard School in the Vocal Arts Department, Michael has been a vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music, faculty member at Berkshire Choral International, music coordinator, conductor and senior coach at Classic Lyric Arts, a summer training program for opera singers in Novafeltria, Italy and Director of Choirs at the United Nations International School. As a teaching artist, Michael initiated and leads the Musica Sacra Educational Outreach Program, where he travels to at-need public schools and community centers throughout New York City to engage students in classical music appreciation and performance. Through this program, he has spearheaded a unique educational partnership with the Newark Boys Chorus School, which will feature them in performance with the Musica Sacra Chorus at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
As an opera conductor he has led performances of L’incoronazione di Poppea, Die Zauberflöte, and Alcina at New York Lyric Opera, and Upon This Handful of Earth at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in collaboration with New York Opera Society. Michael is also a cabaret pianist, singer and improviser; his show “I Wish It So” with soprano Danya Katok has been heard at Pangea NYC, and his gospel playing can be heard on the album Get on Board, featuring composer and baritone Roosevelt André Credit.
Michael holds a Master of Music and two Professional Studies degrees from Manhattan School of Music, where he was awarded the Janet D. Schenek Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Life of MSM. He studied piano, voice, language and theatre as a music and drama major at Vassar College, where he graduated with honors. He resides in New York City with his wife, Diana.