Michelle Humphreys, timpani & percussion, is principal percussionist with Opera Lafayette of Washington, D.C. and performs regularly with many of the region’s top early music and modern ensembles including Washington Bach Consort, Folger Consort, New Music Ensemble at Towson University, National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Tempesta di Mare of Philadelphia, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Bach Sinfonia, Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, and Chesapeake Orchestra at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Highlights of the 2013-14 season included Michael Daugherty’s 2003 concerto for timpani and wind ensemble, Raise the Roof, as well as the premiere of Hollis Thoms’ Symphony No. 2, for marimba and orchestra. Also a versatile performer on early music percussion, Humphreys was recently featured on several Spanish Baroque chamber music programs, including The Bach Sinfonia’s “Nuevo Mundo Barroco” and Harmonious Blacksmith’s “Music of the Iberian Peninsula.”
Last season also included performances at Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Royal Opera at the Palace of Versailles, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, Washington National Cathedral, Cornell University, and Kenyon College, where she performed for the biennial meeting of the American Bach Society.
Humphreys has recorded seven French Baroque operas with Opera Lafayette for the Naxos label, including several modern-day premieres. Notable releases include Rebel’s 1745 Zelindor, Roi de Sylphes and Monsigny’s 1762 Le Roi et le Fermier, which required creating percussion parts based on historical performance practices. She also can be heard on recent and upcoming Chandos recordings with Philadelphia’s Tempesta di Mare, as well as DC-based Cantate’s 2012 release of Andrew Simpson’s Crown of Stars, and Patrick Roulet’s 2012 CD, Michael Colgrass Percussion Music 1951-1957.
Humphreys currently teaches percussion at Shepherd and Towson Universities, and is Percussion Mentor and performing artist for National Music Festival. She is also a member of the Vic Firth Education Team, a frequent clinician, and a proud endorser of Grover Pro Percussion and Zildjian cymbals.
From 2002 to 2011, she served as President of the Maryland/Delaware Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, directing the annual PAS Day of Percussion, an event which features distinguished clinicians and performers from around the world and attracts over 250 professional and amateur percussionists each year.
As a Visiting Artist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Arts Excel! program from 1997-2005, Humphreys created original arts-integrated educational programs for school children, using the language of music and percussion to support curriculum studies such as math and literature. In her role as an Artist Trainer for the BSO, she coached other performers on the development of similar presentations for the Arts Excel! program.
Humphreys holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Towson University, a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland College Park.