Michelle Kinney

Composer and Cellist

Michelle's Resume

Michelle Kinney   On the Beach

Michelle Kinney   On the Beach

Michelle’s career began in Minneapolis, MN, when she returned home after receiving a BA in music from Northwestern University. During this early phase in her career, she was recognized and frequently funded as a composer & cellist, collaborating with Twin Cities choreographers (Laurie Van Wieren), filmmakers (Chris Sullivan, Chicago) and theater artists (Michael Sommers), in addition to composing for her own new music ensembles (IMP ORK, Aphid Bloodbath Consort). In 1989, she moved to New York City to pursue an MA in Performance Studies at New York University. Michelle lived in NYC for 13 years, recording and touring Europe and the US with several of her mentors; bridging musical genres and scenes, from art music (Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, Myra Melford), to pop (Sheryl Crow, Natalie Merchant, Lou Reed); and composing for dance (Cyrus Khambatta), film (Debra Dickson) and theater (Richard Schechner).

Michelle returned to the Twin Cities in 2002, to raise her young family. In addition to again becoming very actively engaged in the community as a composer and performer, Michelle is the Musician in Residence for the Dance Program within the University of Minnesota’s Theater Arts and Dance Department. In this perfect “day job” for a musician/composer, Michelle improvises compositions in daily dance classes, with her cello played through a looping device. Each day Michelle spends hours reading bodies in motion as if they were sheet music, spontaneously creating and layering multiple cello parts, starting from a rhythmic foundation and building harmony, texture and melodic phrasing.


As a band-leader, Michelle Kinney has performed her own music in Europe and the U.S. Selected highlights include: The Montreal Jazz Festival and The Spoleto Festival, The Hubble Theater in Berlin, various clubs in Paris and theaters throughout France. In NYC: The Knitting Factory, The Kitchen, Franklin Furnace, Roulette, The New Victory Theater and Experimental Intermedia. In the Twin Cities: The Guthrie Theater, The Walker Art Center, Orchestra Hall, Studio Z, Southern Theater, Ordway Performing Arts Center, The Cowles Center and numerous Twin Cities festivals.

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION – AWARDS AND GRANTS (ensemble & project details below)

¨    McKnight Composers Fellowship 2014.

¨    Minneapolis Regional Arts Council Next Step Fund, (for recording of new work), 2014.

¨    Minnesota State Arts Board, Arts Tour Minnesota, (for Jelloslave) ’13-’14.

¨    Knight Foundation, American Composers Forum (for Cherry Spoon Collective), 2013

¨    Live Music for Dance, MN, New Music USA, American Composers Forum, (w/Paula Mann) ‘12.

¨    American Composers Forum, Subito Grant for recording, (Jelloslave) ‘08.

¨    American Composers Forum, Composers Commissioning Program ‘05.

¨    Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship in Composition ‘03.

¨    American Composers Forum Composers Commissioning Program ‘02.

¨    Harvestworks Studio Pass, Artist in Residence, NYC ’98,‘92.

¨    The Jerome Foundation, Individual Artist Grant ’90, ’96.

¨    MN State Arts Board ‘88.

¨    McKnight Foundation Fellowship ‘87.

¨    NEA/Rockefeller ‘84. Meet the Composer (NYC & MPLS).