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Get to Know Music Instructor, Michael Hinton

“Michael Hinton embodies a life of drumming and percussion on a daily basis and is a constant source of inspiration.”
— Mickey Hart, Drummer for The Grateful Dead

“Michael Hinton is musical poetry in motion. His depth of musical sensitivity is incomparable among percussionists worldwide. He is truly one of our treasures.”
— J. Rimberg

“Just get Michael.”
— M. Shoenberg, Composer of “Les Miserables” & “Miss Saigon”



Michael Hinton and Liza Minnelli

Tutelage from the Greats

Michael attended the Juilliard School as a scholarship student of the legend Saul Goodman, a timpanist with the New York Philharmonic for 50 years. There, he received his Master’s Degree in Music. Previous to that, Michael was a student of Roland Kohloff, another solo timpanist with the New York Philharmonic. Michael also attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he was asked to teach in their preparatory department after his first semester.

Notable Artists & Bands

Michael’s background includes performing and recording with the Japanese drumming group, Kodo. He has also worked with Andrea Bocelli. Michael is a lifelong Grateful Dead Family Member and has performed numerous shows and projects with them. He was mentioned in a recent book about the group, titled The Grateful Dead by Bill Kreutzmann. He was also an interim member of Jefferson Airplane, which he joined instead of continuing his sophomore year of high school. He later went on to work with the San Francisco Symphony, Ballet, and Opera orchestras prior to attending Juilliard.

For more than 20 years, Michael has been a member of the New York Symphonic Ensemble, and spent more than 10 years as a member of Liza Minnelli’s touring band in the 1980s traveling throughout Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Southeast Asia. He has also performed with Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and a hundred other well-known artists.



Famous Broadway Shows

Michael has spent more than 30 continuous years performing in several Broadway shows, including “Miss Saigon”, “Les Miserables”, “Dream Girls”, “West Side Story”, “Song and Dance”, “On the Twentieth Century”, “The Act”, “Singin’ in the Rain”, “Sweeney Todd”, “Nine”, “The Tap Dance Kid”, “Man of La Mancha”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “All That Jazz”, “South Pacific”, “They’re Playing Our Song”, “The Threepenny Opera”, “Can-Can”, and others. He has also frequently performed at Carnegie Hall, as well as on the Today Show, the Tonight Show, and Good Morning America.

Other Popular Acts

Michael has appeared in the Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Royal Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet and the Bolshoi Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet, the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, and as an orchestra member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. In addition, he has performed with Pope Benedict XVI at Yankee Stadium. Michael also worked with Francis Ford Coppola on the hit film, Apocalypse Now.

Current Interests

Currently Michael is an Afro-Cuban music devotee, having found clave as a core to all kinds of music, whether it is Beethoven or Frank Sinatra. In addition to his teaching practice, Michael leads his band, Foreign Exchange, his first venture as a jazz pianist.