Michael Schaefer is a Colorado native and a 1969 graduate of Poudre High School in Fort Collins. He studied undergraduate and graduate conducting with Wilfred Schwartz and earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education in 1974 and a Master’s in Instruction in 1984 from Colorado State University.
Michael retired after teaching for thirty-five years, twenty years as director of orchestras and assistant director of bands at Webber Junior High. During this time he has supervised six student teachers five having stellar careers. Three of Michael’s orchestras have appeared at the Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA) clinic/conference in Colorado Springs. He is currently team teaching orchestra at Blevins and Walt Clark middle schools. In 2009, Michael received the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Lifetime Achievement Award.
Michael has been an adjudicator at state and local festivals in Colorado and Wyoming. He has presented his music education sessions, “Large Group Tuning Procedure” and “Teaching Technique Through Performing Literature” (Life after method books) , at Clinic/Conferences for Colorado Summer ASTA, CMEA, WMEA, NMMEA, the 2014 National ASTA in Louisville Kentucky and various colleges and universities in Colorado and Wyoming.
His arrangement of the Rossini String Sonata No. 3 was performed by the string orchestra at the 1992 Colorado All State Orchestra concert conducted by James McNeal. Concluding the 2011 performance series at the “Rocky Ridge Music Center” in Estes Park, Michael conducted the premier performance of his arrangement of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen for “String Orchestra and Tenor”. He is currently Board President of “Chamberre of the Rockies” (a summer music camp for adults) at RRMC.
Michael’s conducting responsibilities includes the classroom challenge as a substitute, guest conductor at junior and senior high honor groups, all state high school clinics, student and adult music camps, and an occasional university rehearsal. Last summer was his eleventh year as a member of the Colorado-ASTA String Camp faculty.
He spent 13 seasons as music director and conductor of the Loveland Chamber Orchestra (1981-1994). He was the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra (FCSO) assistant conductor for 13 years and conducted the summer series for several seasons as well as many special events such as the “Mozart on the Roof” and “Opera Galleria” concerts.
As a violinist, Michael played with the FCSO for thirty-five consecutive seasons, eight years as assistant concertmaster. He is the founder and co-principal violin with the Quartet Con Brio performing since 1980 and has just recently retired from that position. He also performs with many of the orchestras and chamber music groups along the Front Range including the “Health and Wellness Orchestra” conducted by Leslie Stuart of the CSU music faculty.