soprano saxophone

Michael Stephenson, soprano saxophonist for New Century Saxophone Quartet, received his Bachelor of Music degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts where he was a student of James Houlik. He received his Master of Music Degree from Ithaca College where he was a student of Steven Mauk.

From 1988-92, Michael was a Visiting Artist at Randolph Community and Pitt Community Colleges. As a Visiting Artist, Michael performed over 400 concerts across North Carolina, as well as at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. It was during this time that Michael discovered his passion for “Grass Roots” music making and founded two community Jazz Bands that are still performing today, the Randolph Jazz Band and the Emerald City Big Band. It was through this passion for community music making that Michael and his wife Cheryl founded the Music Academy of Eastern Carolina in his adopted hometown of Greenville, NC. MAEC is a nonprofit community music school that serves the Greenville area by offering performance opportunities; lessons on a variety of instruments; Music Therapy; and a rehearsal space for many community ensembles.

Michael has been the Coordinator of Music & Drama at Pitt Community College since 2012. As part of his duties he directs the Pitt Community College Symphony Orchestra, oversees the AFA Music program, performs solo concerts in the region, teaches music classes, and is responsible for all musical and drama activities on campus. Michael was awarded the Excellence in Leadership Faculty Member of the Year from Vance-Granville Community College in 2009, and was one of the top nine Community College Instructors in the State of North Carolina for the same year. As a member of the Vance-Granville Community College faculty, he started and directed the Vance-Granville Community Band. Michael has taught saxophone at Ithaca College, East Carolina University, NC A&T State University, Barton College, St. Augustine College, and Shaw University.

Michael performs in several different ensembles throughout North Carolina including the North Carolina, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Western Piedmont Symphonies. His performance settings also include several jazz ensembles across eastern North Carolina, and can be heard in chamber and solo recitals throughout the region. As a multiple instrumentalist (Saxophone, Flute, and Clarinet), Michael has played in the pit orchestras for many shows including
Annie, Cabaret, Joseph and the Amazing Dream Coat, Jesus Christ Superstar,The Music Man, La Cage aux Folles, In the Heights, Nunsense, Miss Saigon, The King and I, and others. Michael has been the musical director for productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Nunsense and Little Shop of Horrors.

When he is not performing the duties listed above, Michael can be seen watching his daughters (Milena and Natasha) become responsible adults, playing tennis on several recreational teams, singing in his church choir, walking his dog, and loving life with his beautiful wife, Cheryl.