Praised as a pianist with “flair and energy” (The New York Times), Bösendorfer artist Dr. Michael Fennelly gained international attention upon his completion of George Gershwin’s unfinished setting of Rhapsody in Blue for solo piano, orchestra, and symphonic chorus, for which he received a knighthood in Spain. Following the premiere with the National Chorale in Lincoln Center, The Huffington Post exclaimed “[Fennelly’s performance] hit like a lightning bolt which catapulted the audience 2,000 feet in the air, taking them on a rocket-ride around the Chrysler building."
Michael Fennelly has toured extensively on all seven continents, appearing throughout the US and Europe as well as in China, Japan, Siberia, French Polynesia, Bhutan, Dubai, Peru—from Andorra and Antarctica to Zimbabwe and Xinjiang. Concerto appearances include Rachmaninoff’s Second (Orange County Philharmonic), Brahms’ First (Altenburg Festival Germany), Saint-Saëns’ Second (Alisa Viejo Symphony), and Rhapsody in Blue (New Jersey Festival Orchestra). Dr. Fennelly represented the United States State Department on a tour of seventeen cities in Japan, and has performed in many of the world's great concert halls, including Carnegie Hall (NY), Opéra de Monte-Carlo (Monaco), Prinzregenten Theatre (Munich), Komische Oper (Berlin), and the fabled Manaus Opera House (Brazil) in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest. Michael has performed with international opera star Renée Fleming in Manhattan, the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, and the Buffalo Philharmonic under JoAnn Falletta.
Michael Fennelly first performed at age five and made his debut concerto appearance at age ten in California. Dr Fennelly studied with Earl Voorhies (Fullerton, CA), Dr. Nelita True (Eastman School of Music) and the legendary pianist Byron Janis (Manhattan School of Music). His doctoral dissertation presented a comprehensive new theory of Metric Structure, which analyzed intermediate temporal patterns in compositions from medieval troubadours and Mozart symphonies to Verdi operas and Ligeti’s Etudes. Michael was the US winner of the Horowitz Competition in Kiev, Ukraine and made his solo Carnegie Hall recital debut upon winning the Artists International Competition.
As a staff pianist for The Juilliard School and the Metropolitan Opera, Michael has collaborated with many of the world’s most celebrated musicians including Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Renata Scotto, Itzakh Perlman, Lorin Maazel, Richard Goode, and Leon Fleisher. Dr. Fennelly has performed recitals for the Aristotle Onassis Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Opera Index Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Joy in Singing, and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. He also toured for many years as a member of Community Concerts, which has since the 1930’s presented artists such as Arturo Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz in smaller cities throughout the United States.
In recent years, Dr. Michael Fennelly has begun a second career as a conductor, leading Madama Butterfly (Amore Opera), La Traviata (Berkshire MA) and the premieres of Les Trois Mousquetaires (Phoenicia Festival, Woodstock NY), Faustine, Big Jim (Center for Contemporary Opera), and assisted in Japan Society’s Four Nights of Dream in sold out performances in Tokyo. Dr. Fennelly was invited as assistant conductor to many prestigious music festivals (Wolftrap, Castleton, Ashlawn, Bruges) and has led innumerable chamber and operatic concerts from the keyboard.
Michael Fennelly’s solo piano albums include The Legend of Faust, Debut, and Grand Tour (Athena Records).
Michael Fennelly and his wife, soprano Megan Weston, live in Manhattan where they co-founded and are the directors of the Athena Music Foundation, a non-profit organization, whose mission to promote and present dynamic music performances to diverse audiences. Athena’s programs include a recital and chamber music series; a touring troupe, The Athenians, who have appeared in Dubai and China; and the Young Performers Program, in which students have the opportunity to study and perform with professional artists.