Dr. Michael Braz is a nationally- and internationally-known music educator, composer, and clinician. For over 40 years, his pianistic and teaching skills have made music accessible to a variety of children and adults on three continents.
Dr. Braz received his B.M. and M.M. degrees from the University of Miami, later completing a Ph.D. as a University Fellow at Florida State University. A keyboard soloist in England's Haslemere Festival of Early Music (directed by Dr. Carl Dolmetsch), he has also collaborated with numerous orchestras, music festivals, and ensembles ranging from chamber music to jazz and rock. Several years ago, he embarked on a one-year teaching sabbatical, instructing faculty and students of various ages and backgrounds at St. Benedict's Catholic School and Performing Arts College (Derby, England), Nepal Music Center (Kathmandu), and Huazhong Normal University (Wuhan, China).
While teaching at Miami's Barry University, Braz wrote and premiered his first opera, Memoirs from the Holocaust, inspired by a visit to the Dachau concentration camp site. He has written orchestral/ choral commissions for professional, collegiate, and school/community ensembles across the country, and was a recipient of an American Composers Forum/Rockefeller Brothers Fund "Faith Partners" grant. Currently, he has over twenty published works in print. In 2007, he premiered his second opera (A Scholar Under Siege) concerning racial politics in 1941 Georgia and the firing of a respected college president by the populist governor of that state.
Since beginning his professional career, Dr. Braz has been actively involved in community music projects, founding the Capital Children's Chorus (Tallahassee, FL) and the Statesboro (GA) Youth Chorale, in addition to serving as Music Director of the Boy Singers of Maine and Associate Director of the Miami Choral Society. A member of both Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternities, he has received national recognition from both organizations. Braz was named a Signature Sinfonian in 2008 and, the following year, conducted a national wind ensemble and premiered a commissioned treble choir work (The Music In The Rainbow) at the SAI National Convention in Chicago.
As Professor Emeritus of Music at Georgia Southern University and a 24-year faculty member, Dr. Braz has taught coursework in music education, theory, composition/arranging, and orchestration, as well as classes on such subjects as Finale music software, recreational music and Wagner's Ring Cycle. In demand as a collaborative pianist, clinician, lecturer, and adjudicator, he has reviewed books and music for various journals and publishers. During his tenure, he has presented scholarly papers at various national conferences, including those of the College Music Society, National Collegiate Honors Council, National Association of Humanities Educators, and the Conference on Christianity and the Holocaust.
In the past, Braz has served as President of the Statesboro (GA) Arts Council and received Georgia Southern's President's Medal, the Award for Excellence in Service, the Ruffin Cup faculty award (College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences), and the Statesboro Herald's "Humanitarian of the Year" honors. In fall 2009, he received recognition by the David H. Averitt Center as its third—and first living—"Legend in the Arts."
Dr. Braz is a member of the Statesboro Kiwanis Club and participates in a variety of community volunteer activities. His hobbies are comparative religions and trekking in the Nepal Himalaya.