Clarinetist, Conductor, Music Educator, Composer & Producer Dr. Michael Kissinger began his music career at age 16 when he produced his first major concert featuring the legendary American jazz clarinetist Woody Herman and The Thundering Herd. In the United States he is co-founder and Artistic Director/Conductor of Bravo!
Vancouver and is the Founder and
Artistic Director of the Vancouver
Wine & Jazz Festival. In Europe he is
United States Guest Conductor for the
Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in
Dubrovnik, Croatia. He also serves as
Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Wine & Jazz
Festival. For the past thirty years he has
worked as a music educator, clarinetist, conductor, composer and concert producer.
Michael Kissinger has performed as a conductor and clarinetist with orchestras, jazz bands and classical chamber groups in the U.S. and Europe including such diverse ensembles as jazz legend Diane Schuur, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet, Oregon String Quartet, Spoleto Festival Orchestra dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, Heidelberg Opera Orchestra, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Ciompi String Quartet, Carolina String Quartet, North Carolina Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Stephen’s Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Civic Symphony, and the New Washingtonian’s Jazz Orchestra. From 1989-1991 he toured and performed more than 200 concerts as a solo artist in the North Carolina Visiting Artist program. He founded the American Music Festival in Beaufort, North Carolina and was Artistic Director until 1992. He has performed on numerous recordings, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’s GRAMMY-nominated album, Carnival and the CBS Masterworks CD Quiet City.
As Founder and Artistic Director of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, Dr. Kissinger has produced more than 50 internationally acclaimed jazz and blues concert artists including: Al Jarreau, Allen Toussaint, Arturo Sandoval, Bela Fleck, BeauSoleil, Blind Boys of Alabama, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bo Diddley, Bob James, Booker T. Jones, Brubeck Brothers, Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, David Benoit, David Sanborn, Diane Schuur, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. John, Eddie Palmieri, Elvin Bishop, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Four Freshmen, James Cotton, Jean-Luc Ponty, John Pizzarelli, Jose Feliciano, Judy Collins, Kenny Loggins, Los Lobos, Mavis Staples, Melissa Manchester, Nicholas Payton, Poncho Sanchez, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ramsey Lewis, Regina Carter, Rita Coolidge, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Spyro Gyra, Stanley Clarke, Take 6, The 5th Dimension, The Gospel Hummingbirds, The Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band, The Manhattan Transfer, The Rippingtons, The Temptations, The Yellowjackets, WAR, and others. The Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival is “…the largest festival of its kind in the Northwest…” (KATU Channel 2, Portland, OR). The Festival is featured on a National Geographic Cultural Tourism map of Oregon & Washington, and has attracted more than 100,000 people from 19 states, Canada and Europe since 1998.
Also a dedicated music educator, Dr. Kissinger has taught on music faculties and lectured at the Marylhurst University, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Meredith College, the Eastman School of Music, Albion College, Summer Arts Institute of Rutgers University, Hochstein School of Music, North Carolina State University, Wake Technical College, Pamlico Community College, Rocky Mount High School and the New England Music Camp. He has produced two CD recordings featuring the Bravo! Chorale: Hear My Prayer: The American Spiritual and a live recording, Handel’s Messiah. His choral music is published by International Liturgy Publications (Nashville, TN) and Sound Music Publications (Edmonds, WA). Michael earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music from Michigan State University and his Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina.
Pianist and Conductor Dr. Maria Manzo is co-founder and Music Director of Bravo! Northwest (formerly Bravo! Vancouver). She is the Founding Conductor of the Bravo! Chorale. Dr. Manzo has led her Bravo! Chorale on numerous regional, national and international concert tours. Under her direction, the Chorale has performed with Melissa Manchester, Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and others. She led the Bravo! Chorale and DSO on a concert tour in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dr. Manzo
also led the Bravo! Chorale, Sno-King Chorale
(Edmonds, WA) and Dubrovnik Symphony
Orchestra in their Pacific Northwest tour in the
fall of 2008 which featured American and
Croatian choral music with concerts in
Portland, Vancouver, Olympia, Edmonds,
Seattle, Portland Center for the Performing
Arts, Washington Performing Arts Center
and Seattle Center. The Bravo! Chorale
released the CD recording
Hear My Prayer: The American Spiritual under her direction. It features classic & contemporary American Spirituals, including those of Jester Hairston, Moses Hogan, William Dawson and others. Dr. Manzo is recognized for her scholarship on the American Negro Spiritual, and is an authority on the music of the American choral composer and arranger Jester Hairston, composer of Amen and other well-known Spirituals.
Maria is currently Director of Music at The Madeleine Church in Portland, Oregon where she serves as Choir Director and Parish Pianist / Organist and arranges liturgical music for services. From 1993-2014, Dr. Manzo was Pastoral Assistant and Director of Music at St. Joseph Church in Vancouver, Washington, where she directed all aspects of the music program including: Parish Choir, Children’s Choir, Youth Choir, Cantor Ensemble, Women’s Schola, Men’s Ensemble and Bell Choir.
Dr. Manzo’s Bravo! Chorale was invited to perform at the 25th Annual National Pastoral Musician’s Conference in Washington D.C. This invitation developed into an East Coast concert tour with the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Jazz Orchestra in Washington D.C. and New York City featuring all-American sacred repertoire. The New Washingtonians Jazz Orchestra from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts collaborated with Dr. Manzo on this tour, with a final concert at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Concert Hall in New York City.
She has led her choirs on tours to Italy, with concerts in Rome, Florence, Venice and Assisi; and regionally here in the Northwest with performances in Spokane, Seattle, Tacoma and Portland. Maria has produced three CD recordings under her direction including: Then Sings My Soul; Hallelujah! A St. Joseph Christmas; and Songs in the Key of Faith.
An experienced Music Educator, Dr. Manzo taught Choral Music in the Spokane School District (Spokane, WA) and was Assistant Professor of Choral Music at North Carolina Wesleyan College. She maintains an active private studio of piano and voice students ranging from Middle School students to adults. Maria earned her B.A. and Master of Music degrees from Eastern Washington University and her Doctorate of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado.
Maria has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe as a solo pianist and chamber musician. Recent performances include the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and concerts with the Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet at the Dubrovnik Wine & Jazz Festival in Dubrovnik, Croatia.