Michael Merrill was born into a military family in 1988 in Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan, and claims Albany, Oregon, USA as his home. He began taking piano lessons like a good little boy as a child, but quickly grew bored of it and quit like a normal little boy. He began playing the saxophone in 5th grade and singing in choir during high school, getting involved in theater and stage musicals along the way. He started “composing” at around twelve when he would fiddle around at the piano, trying to play various tunes by ear and experiment with different patterns. He changed his mind from wanting to be a history teacher to a professional musician after playing in band under the direction of Stuart Welsh at West Albany High School, Oregon, who premiered his first orchestration for band in Spring of 2006.
Beginning later that year, he attended Brigham Young University-Idaho where he studied music education for the first few years. After some changes in mind and heart, he ultimately decided to change from music education and saxophone performance, under the tutelage of Dr. Mark Watkins, to composition. He was accepted into the then-budding composition program in 2012 and began his studies under Dr. Daniel Kerr, and later with Darrell Brown. While at BYU-Idaho, Michael received commissions from various students for their senior recitals, including one from a particularly lovely lady who would later become his wife. He received many awards and recognitions for his music, including two 2nd prizes (Glory to God in the Highest, Winter 2012, and Anthem for Doomed Youth, Fall, 2012) and one 1st place in the school’s Research and Creative Works Conference (Mass for the Last Days, Winter 2014). Anthem for Doomed Youth was also the winner of the school’s first art song competition in June of 2012, where Michael also won the “Audience Favorite” award with Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too (text by Shel Silverstein). In the fall of 2013, Michael’s operetta Perfection of the Life (libretto by Ray Alston) was selected for performance by the school’s opera scenes program, and was well received by the audience on its premiere in December of that year. He graduated with a B.M.S. in Composition and Saxophone Performance in April of 2014.
Michael currently lives in Rigby, Idaho, and will be moving to the United Kingdom later this year where he will study under Royal Composer Paul Mealor FRSA. Michael and his wife, Helen, enjoy Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and going on walks together. Helen is also the 2nd Oboist in the Idaho Falls Symphony.