Geoffrey Michaels

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Geoffrey Michaels (born 1944 in Perth, Western Australia) is an Australian-born violinist and violist, a child prodigy in the 1950s, who now performs and teaches primarily in the United States.


Geoffrey Michaels began taking violin lessons at the age of five, and was soon recognized as a prodigy.[1] At 14, he became the youngest performer ever to win the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s concerto competition,[2] and made his first recording, which sold out within a few weeks of its release.[3]

At the age of 16 he went to the United States to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied violin with Efrem Zimbalist, and violin and viola with Oscar Shumsky. While still a student he became a member of the Curtis String Quartet. He then pursued a solo career, winning the fourth annual Emma Feldman Competition[4] in Philadelphia, and placing among the finalists in the Long-Thibaud-Crespin Competition in Paris, and the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where he played Zimbalist’s ‘Coq d’Or Fantasy.[5]

He has been a professor at Florida State University and at the University of British Columbia. Michaels currently lives in the Philadelphia area.[citation needed]


Michaels is a sought after soloist and chamber music player. Notable contemporary concerto performances include the US premier of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso[6] (broadcast on Voice of America), and Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa for Two Violins and Strings[7] and Fratres,[8] both at Lincoln Center in New York.

In his many tours of Australia he collaborated with pianist and composer Roger Smalley. Smalley’s “Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano” (1990–91), commissioned by the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, bears the dedication “To Geoffrey Michaels.”[9]

He is a founding member of the Liebesfreud Quartet and has also performed in many other chamber ensembles, including the Janus Piano Trio, Performers' Committee for Twentieth Century Music (New York), Richardson Chamber Players (Princeton), and Vancouver New Music Society.


  1. ^ "Talent for Violin: "Phenomenal" Boy in Perth". The West Australian. 1 May 1951. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Boy Wins Concerto Contest". Music and Dance. 49–50: 61. 1958. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Listen Here: Classics". The Australian Women's Weekly: 79. 21 October 1959. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Violin Prizes Announced". Music Educators Journal. 57 (1): 22. September 1970.
  5. ^ Malan, Roy (2004). Efrem Zimbalist: A Life. Pompton Plains, NJ: Amadeus Press. p. 279. ISBN 978-1574670912.
  6. ^ Rothstein, Edward (8 January 1982). "Evening With a Lively Composer From Soviet". New York Times. ProQuest 122043216.
  7. ^ Holland, Bernard (12 March 1984). "Music: Continuum". New York Times. ProQuest 122362326.
  8. ^ "Part: Revels in Sonority". High Fidelity Musical America. 34 (2): 29. 1984.
  9. ^ Smalley, Roger. "Trio for violin, cello and piano". Australian Music Centre. Facsimile of composer's score held at the Australian Music Centre. Retrieved 8 October 2013.