Michael Stephans

Michael leads three distinct but interrelated lives. As a college professor, he holds a Ph.D. in education, and two Master’s degrees, in English and education respectively. He has taught at three prominent universities and is currently in residence at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches writing. Michael has also been active as an award-winning poet, writer, and jazz journalist, often writing liner notes and promotional material for such luminaries as Bennie Maupin, Bob Brookmeyer, Darek Oles, and the late Bob Florence. His work has been published in many literary journals, and he has authored three books of poetry and fiction, and is currently writing a book about jazz.

A prominent jazz musician, Michael has performed and recorded with a wide array of jazz artists, including Bob Brookmeyer, Bennie Maupin, Dave Liebman, Pharoah Sanders, Charlie Byrd, Vic Juris, Don Menza, Bobby Bradford, Buddy Colette, Alan Broadbent, Uri Caine, Theo Saunders, Bob Florence, Mike Melvoin, Bud Shank, John Patitucci, Karl Berger, Vinne Golia, and many others. He has also played with personalities as wildly diverse as The Rolling Stones, Cher, David Bowie, Shirley MacLaine, and Natalie Cole, to name a few.

In addition to his performance activities, Michael was awarded composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Percussive Arts Society. The former afforded him the opportunity to write a large ensemble piece called “Shapes and Visions” for the vibraphonist Karl Berger, which was performed at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.; and the latter gave him the opportunity to compose a solo work for drum set called “Downside-Up,” which has been performed frequently at regional and national competitions, recitals, and festivals. His poem,"Memorandum," has been set to music for choral ensemble and received its world premiere recently at the University of Miami.

Michael is currently a member of the Bennie Maupin Ensemble; "Lineage," a band he co-leads with NEA Jazz Master/ saxophonist Dave Liebman; "Trio Frio," which features the great guitarist Vic Juris and equally astounding bassist Francois Moutin; and "Spatial Edition," an exciting quartet featuring guitarist Juris, the brilliant pianist/composer Jim Ridl, and one of NY's finest bassists, Steve Varner.

Artist News