Walt Michael’s various incarnations, including Bottle Hill, Michael, McCreesh & Campbell and Walt Michael & Co. have spanned 40 years and taken him from the coal camps of Appalachia to the White House to the Closing Ceremonies of the 13th Olympic Winter Games.
Considered to be a virtuoso of tremendous influence in the revival of the hammered dulcimer, Walt’s wide repertoire ranges from old-time Southern Appalachian, to Celtic, to breathtaking original compositions. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist and he has recorded fourteen albums and instructional videos, appeared at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe and the UK. His music has been heard on ABC-TV, NBC's Tonight Show, Broadway, BBC, TNN, CBC, OLN and PBS.
Walt has composed and performed collaboratively with both the Pilobolus Dance Theater and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He was the musical producer, composer and recording artist for the Outdoor Living Network’s documentary, Cowboy 101, which premiered in October 2004. In 2005 he collaborated with 5-time Tennessee State Fiddle Champion Jim Wood to produce two instrumental albums featuring his signature hammered dulcimer artistry. His music figures prominently in the feature length movie “The Last Blast” in which he also plays two roles: a punk rocker and a G-man. Walt is a 2016 recipient of a Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award from the MD State Arts Council as a master hammered dulcimer player.
Walt is the Artist in Residence at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, as well as founder and Executive Director of Common Ground on the Hill, now in its 26th year, an international arts organization which seeks to promote interracial harmony through the traditional arts.
“…..Walt Michael has established himself as one of the most innovative and expressive of traditional musicians….”
“For more than thirty years, veteran performer Walt Michael has been setting standards in acoustic music. Walt Michael & Company continues to cross barriers, tastefully and successfully blending tradition with innovation.”
"In his quietly revolutionary and exploratory music and performance, Michael combines an Old World roots advocacy with global and 20th century influences. His music, like that of Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor, Edgar Meyer and the Punch Brothers, relaxes the boundaries of folk music … allowing in airs of 20th century Minimalism (for which the hammered dulcimer is delightfully right) and a broad sense of global sourcing.”
“The gems of the night were undoubtedly Walt Michael & Co. …..with tasteful panache they stole away all hearts, Walt making his dulcimer sound like a full orchestra – tutti virtuosi!”
“They really were stunning. Their joyful sound had a packed house begging for encores."
"Walt Michael is a hammered dulcimerist of uncommon power."
“Take the traditional – fiddles, hammered dulcimer, guitars; merged with the contemporary; add a touch of classical; and this group forges music that’s fresh and alive.”
“An antidote to all the spoon feeding in-yer-face music that thrusts itself upon us - yes even in the folk world, Walt Michael's music steadfastly refuses to show even a glimmer of lowest common denominator, and here remains resolutely intelligent, both in its selection and execution of the material.”
Walt’s wide repertoire ranges from old-time Southern Appalachian, to Celtic, to breathtaking original compositions. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist he has recorded fourteen albums and instructional videos, appeared at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and toured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Europe and the UK. His music has been heard on ABC-TV, NBC's Tonight Show, Broadway, BBC, TNN, CBC, OLN and PBS.
Walt Michael is a member of the Maryland Touring Artist Roster, a program of the Maryland State Arts Council. If you are interested in having Walt perform at your venue, and if you are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the Maryland/DC area, you qualify for funding to help bring Walt to your venue.