Since graduating, Michael has performed in some of the world's largest venues, played professionally recorded concertos, and has been the principal oboeist with international orchestras. Michael has also lectured at some of the most prestigious music departments including: Sydney Conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music, University of North Texas and Kings College London. 

After the pandemic, Michael has started a PhD at the Royal Academy of Music, set up his own production company, and has produced large-scale performances with his orchestra, Paradox Orchestra. 

Where did your musical journey begin?

At the age of 11 - my school gave free instrumental lessons as well as access to free instrumental hire.

What first inspired you to study classical at Leeds Conservatoire?

I was drawn to the conservatoire due to its classical course. Once I enrolled I was taken aback by the nurturing environment which allowed me to accelerate. 

It's great to see you decided to stay on at the Conservatoire after you received your undergraduate degree. What inspired you to do the MA?

After completing my undergraduate degree I wanted to spend more time learning with my oboe teacher. Secondly, the MA degree, along with the UG, focussed on developing you as an artist. This made me want to go further than solely going on to an orchestral career. I was presented with a lot of opportunities in my time as an UG, and I wanted to continue to expand my networks and collaborative practices.

We'd love to know more about the Paradox Orchestra. Please can you tell us a bit about it?

Paradox Orchestra is a professional session orchestra based in the North of England and servicing the UK with world class events. The orchestra's musicians have worked with some of the biggest selling artists and performed all over the world. The musicians the orchestra has performed with include Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, Craig David, Marc Almon, and Annie Lenox... the list is endless. 

The orchestra was formed in 2020 just before the COVID-19 lockdowns (perfect timing). After a year of pre-production and conceptualizing I knew I wanted to form a professional session orchestra to service the North of England with stand-out, large-scale productions. I wanted my fellow graduates, friends and people I had met along my journey of being a student to be involved with this project at every step of the way.

The best thing about being at Leeds Conservatoire was being able to meet, network and collaborate with a variety of musicians who held skill sets I didn’t from the huge variety of pathways that the Conservatoire offers. In my time studying at the Conservatoire I made a huge circle of friends who I was lucky enough to get involved with Paradox Orchestra.

It's lovely to hear how you've involved friends you made at The Conservatoire in the Paradox Orchestra. Can you please tell us more about this?

Around 90% of the orchestra is made up of graduates from Leeds Conservatoire all of whom I met along my three years of studying at the Conservatoire and all of whom make a huge impact. It’s so humbling to be able to work alongside people I’ve known for years and to see everyone’s journey go from student to gigging professional musicians. 

Finally, do you have a stand out moment from your time at Leeds Conservatoire?

One of my stand moments was performing with Marc Almond at the Royal Festival Hall; a truly memorable experience.

Find out more about our BA (Hons) Classical 

To learn more about Paradox Orchestra, visit the Paradox Orchestra Facebook page

Find out more about what our successful graduates have been up to in our Alumni Profiles

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