Inspired by his years of experience as a pianist in the choral, operatic, pop, and jazz genres, Michael’s solo piano arrangements of standard hymns are anything but standard. From beautiful simplicity to majestic complexity, each piece tells a unique story. Perfect for missionaries, youth, and the young at heart, Hymnprovisations provides the perfect soundtrack for a Sunday morning, evening drive, or anytime relaxation and reflection are needed.
Pianist and composer Michael Leavitt began studying piano at age eight with Barbara Lee. Quickly surpassing expectations, he began accompanying choirs at school and church. At twelve, he continued his studies with Roger Bushell, winning his first piano competition one year later. Michael continued to compete throughout high school, winning many local, state, and regional competitions.
Michael attended the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Visual, and Performing Arts, majoring in choral performance. With the LVA Chamber Choir he had the opportunity to perform for the White House Christmas Opening with First Lady Hillary Clinton. After graduation, Michael worked as a pianist for many musical theater productions, and as an audio engineer for Impulse Studios and the Huntridge Theater, where he worked with many popular bands, including Collective Soul, Green Day, and 3 Doors Down.
Michael received his undergraduate degree in Music Media from Brigham Young University. From 2003-05, he was the pianist and conductor for the Young Ambassadors, with whom he had the opportunity to tour throughout the United States, China, Korea, Brazil, and Argentina. In addition, Michael was the pianist and conductor for many BYU musical theater productions, including Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Oklahoma, and Aida. In 2008 Michael had the opportunity to work with Erik Orton, directing and producing the music for the BYU filming of Berlin, an original musical. In 2009 Michael composed and produced the music for the BYU film Onward Alone, and was the co-producer and conductor for the LDS production A Brand New Year, a live broadcast performed in front of an audience of over 20,000 people.
One of Michael’s favorite professional experiences was with Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, in Hale Center Theater Orem’s production of 110 In the Shade. Together with Dave Zabriskie, Michael created a virtual orchestral system called ROCS, which he used to conduct a computerized orchestra for the live performances with Audra. Since the creation of the system, Michael and Dave have continued development and promotion of ROCS, now known as the aTempo System. In April 2012, Michael had the great opportunity to work closely with internationally acclaimed conductor Don Chan to create virtual orchestral demo recordings of West Side Story for the Leonard Bernstein Foundation.