Michelle Morales, a versatile musician and dedicated educator, has spent her life sharing her love for music. Michelle served as an Orchestra Director at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools from 2011 to 2023, where she has left an indelible mark and established her innovative approach to music education.
Michelle earned a Master's degree in Cello Performance from DePaul University, where she studied under the esteemed Steve Balderston, former Assistant Principal Cellist of the Chicago Symphony. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Cello Performance at Arizona State University, refining her skills under renowned cello teachers such as Thomas Landschoot, Richard Bock, and
Laurie Stearns Selby.
Beyond the classical realm, Michelle's passion for music has led her to perform alongside hip-hop artists, alternative rock bands, and even the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2013, she was selected to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education Summer Institute, "Arts & Passion Driven Learning," in collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project. Her dedication to music performance has been recognized with Summer Fellowships from the Philadelphia Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra's Summer Music Institute in Washington D.C., where she received full scholarships for four consecutive years. Notably, in 2008, she shared the stage at the Grammy Awards with the Foo Fighters, conducted by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin.
A Chicago resident for over 17 years, Michelle has graced some of the city's most iconic venues. In addition to her orchestral work, Michelle leads her band, The Loneliest Monk, and has released music on Chicago's Kilo Records. Her musical versatility even extends to the realm of country music, where she plays the upright bass as a member of The Family Gold, performing alongside her husband. In the summer of 2023, Michelle and her family embarked on a new chapter, trading the bustling city of Chicago for the tranquil redwoods of Guerneville in
Michelle firmly believes in the power of the arts to inspire and educate students, nurturing their growth, creativity, and exploration of life.