Harpsichordist & Conductor Michael Thomas Asmus has been hailed as “an all-star harpsichordist who was excellent throughout, providing a solid backbone for the singers and orchestra” (Palm Beach Arts Paper). He has also been lauded as a “versatile” continuo player (CNVC.org) with “judicious, rhythmically supple harpsichord playing” (Star Tribune). As a conductor, he has been praised as a “conscientious [conductor]” with “a natural talent” and “a bright future” by audiences and ensembles alike. He is consistently lauded by his colleagues as a great musical collaborator.
He has previously been the assistant conductor for Stony Brook Opera’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Rape of Lucretia (2017) and the Stony Brook Opera’s/Stony Brook Baroque Players’ production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Pygmalion (2018). He made his international debut as a harpsichordist and continuo player in March 2017 at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Puebla, México playing a concert of Renaissance-, Baroque-, and Classical-era music with cellist Eduardo Carpinteyro and violinist Saúl Rodríguez.
In 2018, Michael attended the International Conducting Workshop and Festival in Lviv, Ukraine where he led the Lviv Philharmonic in concert. In 2019, he was a guest musician with the Rose Ensemble’s tour of Voices of Angles. Also in 2019, Michael made his debut at Opera NEO (San Diego) as the Assistant Conductor and Vocal Coach for their production of Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto. He was scheduled to return in 2020 as the Assistant Conductor and Vocal Coach for Opera NEO’s production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Platée. In May 2022, Michael made his debut at Florida Grand Opera (Miami) as an emergency replacement continuo player for their production of Handel’s Agrippina.
In March 2023, Michael was invited by to present his paper on Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s leçons de ténèbres at an interdisciplinary conference, Between the Jesuit College and the Port Royal: Classical Culture and Religious Controversy in 17th-Century France, sponsored by Adam Mickiewicz University and by the Akademia Muzyczna I.J. Paderewski, both in Poznań, Poland. He also participated in performances of several Charpentier Leçons de Ténèbres and provided a lecture and solo recital on music by French clavecinistes.
Since June 2011, Michael has acted as the Music and Artistic Director of La Grande Bande, a non-profit, period instrument orchestra and chorus he founded in the same year. La Grande Bande is currently producing its fourth concert season (2023–2024), which has featured a variety of Baroque- and Classical-era works from France, Poland, Germany, Italy, and England. To find out more about La Grande Bande at www.lagrandebande.org.
He completed his Master of Music degree at Stony Brook University in 2017. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University where he studies harpsichord with Arthur Haas. He has also studied harpsichord with Asako Hirabayashi.
Michael plays two French double harpsichords: one made by William Dowd (1976) after a 1730 instrument by Blanchet, the other made by Allan Winkler (2022) after the 1711 instrument by Pierre Donzelague.
Michael is also a founding partner for Agricultural Innovations, LLC, a family-owned organic fertilizer company based in Minnesota. The company’s products can be found in stores across the Upper Midwest labeled under the brand name High Island®. Find out more at www.highislandorganics.com.