Countertenor Michael Walker II is celebrated both as a brilliant soloist and versatile chamber musician. Praised for his “luminous tone, weighted with pathos,” Michael performs nationally as a recitalist, a soloist with orchestra, and a chamber ensemble member.
A passionate advocate for celebrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and access within the classical arts, Michael has conceived a program of Negro Spirituals arranged for voice and viols da gambas; a collaboration with the historical instrumental ensemble, Alchymy Viols, culminated in the development of Deep River: American Spirituals My Mother Taught Me. The mission of this groundbreaking program is to expand the boundaries of the western musical canon and use historical performance practices to highlight and elevate the works of traditional marginalized communities.
As an early music specialist, Michael finds pleasure in exploring literature from the medieval, renaissance, and baroque eras. He has been heard as a soloist with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra (Bach’s St. John’s Passion), Kokomo Symphony Orchestra (Handel’s Messiah), Marquette Choral Society (Bach’s Magnificat), Incantare (Schütz, Magnificat), and AIMS, UK (Pergolesei’s Stabat Mater). As a new works and contemporary music enthusiast, Michael was the featured soloist in the U.S. premiere of Tarik O'Regan’s Triptych for wind band and the countertenor soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with IU Summer Philharmonic Orchestra.
Additionally, Michael is a member of the Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble. This group of dynamic professional singers from around the United States and Canada champion racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, while presenting vocal music with artistic excellence and integrity. Recent highlights in 2022, headliner performances at Podium: Choral Canada’s National Choral Conference (CAN) and American Choral Director Association: Southern Regional Conference (NC).
Upcoming engagements for the 2022-2023 season include Michael Walker and Alchymy Viols presents Deep River: American Spirituals My Mother Taught Me at the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, soloist in Bach’s St. John’s Passion with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, and Folger Consort with Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble.
As an established and innovative arts administrator, Michael is a Sphinx LEADer Fellow with the Sphinx Organization, a social justice organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Michael holds a Master of Music in Early Music Performance Practices from the Historical Performance Institute at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Master of Music, Early Music Performance Practices (Voice)
Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music, Historical Performance Institute Bloomington, IN
Bachelors of Science, Business Management
University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL
Sphinx LEAD Fellow