Biography

“Again, thank you for such an exciting concert Michael. Your excellent conducting technique, as well as knowledge of the scores, and your impeccable musicianship led the musicians of the University of Central Florida Wind Ensemble to a really outstanding performance. All three of my compositions were done with such conviction.”

February 2007, Karel Husa- composer

Acclaimed by 4barsrest.com as one of the most formidable and reputable conductors in the world of Brass Ensembles and Brass Bands, most recently, Mr. Garasi was appointed the Resident Conductor of the internationally acclaimed Brass Band of Battle Creek. Mr. Garasi was the musical director of the Brass Band of Central Florida for nine years, leading them to win both major titles at the North American Brass Band Championships and the US Open Brass Band Championships, two tours to England, recording four albums and leading the ensemble to a new level of national and international prominence. Mr. Garasi became the first American brass band conductor ever to be nominated by England’s 4barsrest.com for the “Newcomer of the Year” Award in 2004 and the “Conductor of the Year” award in 2006. Mr. Garasi also won the “Best New Arrangement” Award in the U.S. Open Brass Band Championships in 2004 and 2005. In 2007, Mr. Garasi became the first American conductor to adjudicate at the most prestigious entertainment competition for brass bands in the world, the Brass in Concert Competition at the Sage in Gateshead, England. Because of this international success, Mr. Garasi was invited to England twice to conduct the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band at numerous concerts and at the Brass in Concert Competition in 2008. 

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In 2016, Mr. Garasi conducted the American Philharmonic in a new video recording project called “Virtual Symphony” for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Anthem of the Seas. The American Philharmonic was comprised of musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Military Bands in Washington DC. The video project may be viewed only on the Anthem of the Seas in their performance venue, 270.

Mr. Garasi has held the position of Music Director and Principal Conductor of the professional, Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra for eight successful seasons. Under maestro Garasi’s baton, the FLSO became a significant profile in the Central Florida community. His creative contributions to the regular concert season included: side-by-side performances with local youth orchestras and college students in the area, the development of the FLSO Chamber Music Series and Meet the Musician Series, the formation of the annual Concerto/Aria Competition for Young Artists, and the programming of premiere works by local composers.

slide_1Previously, Mr. Garasi has held the South Florida positions of Music Director/Conductor for the Treasure Coast Symphony, and the Broward Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, Mr. Garasi was invited to guest conduct the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in five concerts throughout Central Florida.  During the holiday season, Mr. Garasi has conducted the Epcot Candlelight Processional orchestra and 200 voice choir at Walt Disney World, having enjoyed this podium for the past seven consecutive holiday seasons.

A committed advocate for the performance of new music, most recently, Mr. Garasi conducted in Texas at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music’s annual Contemporary Music Festival, conducting Bernard’s Rand’s Oboe Concertino featuring Oboe Professor, Robert Atherholt.  During the 2011-2012 season, Mr. Garasi was invited to conduct the premiere season of the professional New Score Chamber Orchestra, performing the music of living composers of our day. He was also a part of the 1st “Young Composers Challenge” annual event, sponsored by the Orlando Philharmonic. At the School of Performing Arts at the University of Central Florida, Mr. Garasi performed on piano in Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians”, was the Advisor for the formation of NewME (New Music Ensemble), which provided student composers and performers an opportunity to compose/perform contemporary art music, and implemented the UCF Annual Composition Competition.

Mr. Garasi has had the privilege of conducting such outstanding and internationally acclaimed artists as Philadelphia Orchestra’s Harpist Elizabeth Hainen; Trumpeters Philip Smith, Jens Lindemann, Rex Richardson and Chris Jaudes; Euphonium Steven Mead, Robert and David Childs; Cuban guitarist Carlos Molina; mezzo-soprano Rachelle Fleming and bass baritone Michael Riley.

With a gift for understanding, motivating and conducting youth ensembles, Mr. Garasi has spent years investing in the lives of young musicians. For seven years Mr. Garasi was a full-time faculty member of the School of Performing Arts at the University of Central Florida. At UCF, he was on the instrumental conducting faculty conducting the symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber orchestra for the musicals in collaboration with UCF Theatre, and taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses, including Ear Training, Music Appreciation, and Conducting. Mr. Garasi has held positions as the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Conductor of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Philharmonia, and has been actively involved in public and private school music education as a guest conductor of youth orchestras and youth bands in Florida, Texas, Michigan, Indiana and New Mexico.

photo3Mr. Garasi studied at the Eastman School of Music and holds degrees from the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition to his formal degrees, Mr. Garasi has studied advanced conducting with Kenneth Kiesler (Director of Orchestral Studies, University of Michigan) at the Conductors Retreat at Medomak, Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and privately with Joseph Kreines.

Mr. Garasi is married to Cherry T. Garasi, published and Dove Award winning music composer, editor and curriculum writer.