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About Me

Michael Manderen, whether presenting solo programs on classical and 7-string jazz guitars, as well as lutes of all periods, or collaborating with his ensemble partners John and Barbiel Saunders, AKA Silent Lion, provides a unique program drawing on the music of many periods.  His solo and duo concerts encompass early music on historical instruments, the finest solo and duet repertoires for guitars and flute or violin from the classical, romantic, and impressionist periods, as well as contemporary music and the best of the American popular and classic jazz idiom.  Unifying his solo and duo programs is the theme that improvisation has played a significant role in almost every musical period and that an improvisatory sense of excitement and spontaneity should pervade all musical performance.

Michael Manderen – Lutes, Vihuela, Classical and Jazz Guitars, Theorbo, Baroque Guitar and Viola da Gamba

Michael Manderen, formerly Director of Conservatory Admissions and Lecturer in Lute and Guitar at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music since 1978 (now retired after 41 years), is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he was a dual degree student (B.A./B.Mus.) in Lute Performance in the Conservatory of Music and History and Music in the College of Arts and Sciences.  His principal teachers at Oberlin were the composer and guitarist Loris O. Chobanian and lutenist Paul O'Dette.


Michael Manderen is skilled on both classical and jazz guitars, as well as a variety of lutes, most of which were constructed expressly for him.  First introduced to fretted instruments at the age of 10, he began studying guitar with noted classical guitarist William Matthews several years later.  At the age of 14 he began the study of jazz guitar concurrently with the classical guitar, working with famed studio musician and former NBC "Tonight Show" guitarist Barry Galbraith.  It was Galbraith who first introduced Michael to the lute, which led him to study that instrument with Suzanne Bloch, daughter of composer Ernest Bloch, and an early pioneer in reintroducing the lute and its literature to contemporary musical life.  Michael began his professional performing life early, first recording television and radio commercial sound tracks for Estee Lauder and Revlon while still in high school.


In addition to his numerous appearances with the Manderen Duo, Michael has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra both as lutenist and classical guitarist, as well as the Chicago-based baroque orchestra "The City Musick" in performances of Handel's oratorio "La Ressurezione."  His lute has been heard in a more popular vein, most recently in several television commercials broadcast nationally for the Knight's Inn motel chain. 


Michael has also occupies the posts of Lutenist-in-Residence at the Great Lakes Medieval Faire in Geneva, Ohio, the Michigan Renaissance Festival in Holly, Michigan, and the Enchanted Lakes Renaissance Festival in Angola, Indiana.


Michael has been heard locally in Cleveland at fine restaurants and jazz clubs, including Chez Francois in Vermilion, Gamekeeper's Tavern in Chagrin Falls, and at Sergio's in University Circle and Sarava in Shaker Square, playing jazz and Brazilian jazz classics.  At Sergio's, he was frequently joined by vocalist Fernanda Cunha, a splendid Brazilian recording artist, who makes her home in Rio.


As a teacher, Michael's experience extends over forty-five years.  In addition to serving as Conservatory Admissions Director at Oberlin for forty-one years, he held the post of Lecturer in Lute and Guitar there, as well as teaching classical and jazz guitar students at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he served as Visiting Instructor of Guitar.

Michael retired from his post as Admissions Director at Oberlin Conservatory of Music as of December 31, 2019 but continues perform and teach privately.




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