Michelle Kraak completed her Masters in Trumpet Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music. Following graduation, she attended the Aspen Music Festival. While at Aspen, Michelle studied with Tom Hooten, Stuart Stephenson, Raymond Mase and David Krauss. She performed in all five of the festival’s orchestras and played side-by-side with David Krauss, Kevin Cobb and Micah Wilkinson. She performed under the batons of Christian Arming, James Gaffigan, Leonard Slatkin, and Ludovic Morlot during the festival. She also had extensive study with the American Brass Quintet, especially Kevin Cobb and John Rojak who coached her brass quintet at Aspen.
Before attending Aspen, Michelle frequently performed with the historic Eastman Wind Ensemble while pursuing her master’s degree. She was a featured soloist in the group’s performance of Dave Rivello’s “While the Moon Looks Down.” Michelle also successfully auditioned for the wind ensemble’s trumpet section for a ticketed concert with the Canadian Brass. She played in Cleveland’s Severance Hall while on tour with the ensemble. In addition to the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Michelle performed frequently with the Eastman Philharmonia. Notably, she performed Mahler’s sixth symphony and also played principal trumpet in a concert with Joshua Bell under the direction of David Zinnman with the Philharmonia. At Eastman, Michelle studied with James Thompson.
Previous to her Master’s studies, Michelle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Trumpet Performance at DePaul University. In her time at DePaul, she performed in the Symphony Orchestra as well as the Wind Ensemble. She appeared with the Wind Ensemble on a television broadcast of Windy City Live for a special Veterans Day program. Michelle has performed at Chicago’s Symphony Center as well as at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. While at DePaul, Michelle studied with William Denton, Matthew Lee and Matthew Comerford.
Michelle is originally from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin and currently resides in Asheville, NC where she is Co-Principal trumpet of the Brevard Philharmonic. She frequently performs throughout the Asheville area. In her time between working as a full time IBEW electrical apprentice and playing the trumpet professionally, Michelle enjoys various artistic hobbies, blogging, foraging, traveling and playing with her pet cat.