A pianist and conductor by training, Michael Pecak is really a frustrated singer at heart with a passion for opera and the theater. A musical—and intensely Polish—home nurtured his early love of singing and especially for the myriad expressive inflections in Polish folk and traditional music he heard his father perform. During his piano studies at Northwestern (BM) and Indiana (MM) Universities, Michael cut his teeth in their opera departments and vocal studios as an accompanist, coach, and répétiteur. A Fulbright Fellowship followed, enabling Michael to spend a year at the Conservatory in Warsaw, Poland, where he explored the piano works and techniques of the Polish avant-garde while also collaborating with the school’s vocalists on Polish and American song projects. A chance encounter with famed fortepianist Malcolm Bilson inspired a turn from the new to the early. Michael recently completed a DMA in fortepiano performance at McGill University with a dissertation on the music of Fryderyk Chopin. Whether as a soloist or sidekick, the challenges of performing on or with period instruments present musicians with plentiful opportunities for imaginative, innovative, and rewarding music-making. With his own late-eighteenth-century fortepiano in tow, Michael is excited to be back in his hometown of Chicago to perform, think, and write while singing softly to himself.
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