Michael A. Palumbo retired in 2013 as Professor Emeritus of Music from Weber State University, where he taught for thirty-one years. While teaching at WSU he was the Director of Orchestral Studies and Professor of Viola. From 1997 through 2007 he also served as the Chair of the Department of Performing Arts.
Michael received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Denver, studying conducting with Fred Hoepper and viola with Lee Yeingst. He completed his Doctor of Arts in Orchestral Conducting at Ball State University as a conducting student of the late Robert Hargreaves, and a viola student of the late Robert Slaughter.
Michael’s conducting credits include performances by the “Stars of the Soviet Ballet” and the “Bolshoi Ballet.” He has conducted All State and other honor orchestras and festivals in the Midwestern and western regions of the United States, and has served as an assistant conductor for Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was chosen as a conductor of the Olympic Anthems Orchestra that recorded the National Anthems for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the founding conductor of the New American Symphony Orchestra (Now the New American Philharmonic), which he conducted from 1989 until 2002. In the spring of 2011 Michael formed Chamber Orchestra Ogden, which he continues to conduct.
Before retiring from the orchestra in 2017 Michael principal violist of the Ballet West Orchestra. He is still an active recitalist, and chamber musician. While on the faculty at WSU he was the violist with the Browning String Quartet, and he performed as a guest artist with a number of visiting chamber ensembles such as the Cassatt String Quartet and the Amelia Piano Trio.
Michael received Hemingway Faculty Vitality awards at Weber State University for international touring and performing with the Weber State Symphony Orchestra, the Weber State Chamber Orchestra, and the Weber State University Faculty Trio. He is also the recipient of the Mayor’s Award in the Arts for the city of Ogden, Utah, and numerous other civic and professional awards. In September of 2018 Michael received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Ball State University, his doctoral alma mater.
Michael has adjudicated at numerous national, regional, and state music competitions. He has presented clinics and program sessions for various music organizations, including the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), The National Association for Music Education (NAfME),and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). He has also given presentations at Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA) Midwinter Conferences. He is a past-president of the UMEA, and in 2009 received their Outstanding Music Educator award.
As an avid promoter of music education, in 2001 Michael was the founding director of the Weber State University String Project, and served as one of the original members of the Board of Trustees of the National String Project Consortium. For his work with the String Project he received the Exemplary Collaboration Award from Weber State University in 2004, and in 2010 he received the Empowering Educational Partnerships Award from the Ogden, Utah School District.
From 2002 through 2008 Michael was a member of the National Executive Board of the American Viola Society (AVS). In 2003 he served as a competition judge for the AVS’s Primrose International Viola Competition, and at the 2008 International Viola Congress he received the Founders Award from the AVS. In 2017 he began a three-year term as AVS President.
Michael is a former national secretary of ASTA. He has twice held the office of president of the Utah Chapter of ASTA (UASTA) and is a two-time recipient of the UASTA Educator of the Year award.
In1997 he collaborated with David Dalton to begin the Utah Viola Society, and he served as its first president. In addition to his memberships in ASTA, the AVS, and NAfME, Michael is a member of the National Council of Supervisors of Music Education, and Pi Kappa Lambda. A long-time member of the American Federation of Musicians, he is currently president of Local 104 of the AFM.
For recreation Michael likes to take motorcycle trips with his wife, travel, see family, make wine and beer, and play jazz and blues at several local clubs. He also spends a lot of time writing grant proposals to help pay the members of Chamber Orchestra Ogden.