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Michael Donovan’s experience as a musician encompasses a wide range of musical styles and forms of expression
As a boy, he studied piano and pursued extensive studies in classical and jazz saxophone at the Conservatoire du Québec. As a teenager, he composed original music for the avant-garde bands with which he performed. He then went on to pursue vocal studies at McGill University, followed by graduate studies in opera at the Hochschule fur Musik in Munich, Germany, with legendary mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender. Donovan was also a student of renowned Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who is acknowledged as the 20th century’s greatest master of lieder. As Fischer-Dieskau’s hand-picked private student at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin, Donovan was immersed in the historic continuum of Romantic art song interpretation.
Donovan has enjoyed a successful career as a performer of opera, oratorio, art song, chamber music, jazz, new music and improvisational music in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France and the U.S. He has appeared in leading roles with the Bern State Opera, Stuttgart State Opera, Munich State Opera, Opera Vancouver and the Edmonton Opera. He has been a soloist with the Quebec Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony and Symphony Nova-Scotia as well as with many concert and new music presenters, including Numus (Waterloo), Queen of Puddings (Toronto), BradyWorks (Montreal), Array Music (Toronto), New Music Concerts (Toronto) and, most recently, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne in Montreal.
Donovan is also in demand as an educator. He teaches classical singing at York University and musical theatre singing at The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. He has given master classes at York University, Brandon University, the Glenn Gould School, Chadron State College (Nebraska) and Concordia University. He is also an active adjudicator and consultant for music schools and festivals.
As a composer, Donovan has written numerous settings of poems by living Canadian, German and Japanese poets. He has also written chamber music and film music.
Donovan recently published a book review in the prestigious American journal Ethnomusicology (University of Illinois Press).
Donovan is presently a PHD candidate in musicology at York University in Toronto.