Michael Holmes has enjoyed a multi-faceted musical career. After performing as a professional French hornist and singer in the 1990s, his endeavors gravitated toward conducting. Since then, he has conducted and/or performed with numerous well-established choirs, orchestras, opera companies, and early music ensembles in the USA, Europe, and China.
From 2000–10, he served as the artistic director of the Orchestra (and Choir) of the 17th Century in Washington D.C., from 2003–06 as director of the University of Maryland Collegium Musicum, and since 2002 as artistic director of the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble. He has also performed with such acclaimed ensembles as Piffaro, the Washington Bach Consort, the Bach Sinfonia, Teatro Nuovo (NYC) and Sonus Borealis (on tour in Finland). While living in Finland (2001–02) as a Fulbright Scholar, he traveled on three tours with the internationally acclaimed Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat (YL Choir) and joined them for two additional tours in the USA, including appearances at Lincoln Center (2005) and Carnegie Hall (2010).
Holmes is in high demand as a choral composer and arranger for songwriters in the American folk genre, including over 50 published arrangements for the Atlanta-based artist Elise Witt (NonSiSaMai Music), and several arrangements for the famous duo Emma’s Revolution.
Michael Holmes holds degrees in Music Theory/Composition (BM) James Madison University, in Conducting (MM) from Virginia Commonwealth University, and did PhD studies in historical musicology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Other studies were at the Instituto Brittanico in Florence, Italy (1990), and at the University of Helsinki (2001–02).
Holmes has been on the music faculties of University of Maryland, College Park, Towson University, and American University, and he currently is the Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, MD.