Michael Barrett has distinguished himself as a conductor with major orchestras here and abroad in the symphonic and operatic world. A protégé of Leonard Bernstein, he began his association with the renowned conductor and composer as a student in 1982, later serving as Maestro Bernstein’s assistant conductor from 1985-1990. Co-founder of both the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) and the Moab Music Festival, Michael was previously Director of the Tisch Center for the Arts and the 92nd Street Y in New York, and Chief Executive and General Director of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY.
Together with his ongoing positions of artistic leadership at the Moab Music Festival and NYFOS, he is currently busily working on the Leonard Bernstein Centennial as a producer, conductor, and pianist. A champion of new music, Michael has conducted and played premieres by nearly 100 composers, and considers new music to be the lifeblood of American musical culture. He oversees NYFOS Next a series in New York City which examines the latest in songwriting by established and young composers. Dedicated to music education, he oversees the innovative education programs of the Moab Music Festival. He is also active in the creation of new educational programs for symphony orchestras in collaboration with Jamie Bernstein. Their programs have been performed throughout the U.S., Asia, Cuba, and Europe. Born in Guam and raised in California, Michael attended the University of California, Berkeley and is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.