In a recent review, Fanfare Magazine stated that Michael Samis’s playing places him “in the very highest echelon of the world’s living cellists.” He is recognized for his “golden tone and commanding technique (Nashville Scene), “haunting” tone (Cincinnati Post) and “shining and expressive” playing (The Tennessean). In 2013, he gave what was likely the U.S. premiere of Carl Reinecke’s Romantic-era Cello Concerto with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, which set the stage for his debut solo album on the Delos label, released in 2014.
Samis performed Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 17. Other solo performances have included Bruch’s Kol Nidrei with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Naples Orchestra, Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Bryan Symphony and Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestras, and Lalo’s Cello Concerto with the Blue Ash Symphony Orchestra.
He has given recitals around the U.S., at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, Western Slope Concert Series in Colorado, Taft Museum Chamber Music Series in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, Dearborn Highlands Performing Arts Series in Indiana, Blair/Vanderbilt, Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Matinee Musicale Rising Stars Series, and others. He recently performed on Stopping By, a Delos Productions’ CD recorded with tenor Kyle Bielfield and pianist Lachlan Glen. In 2007, he recorded a CD on the Ottimavoce label with soprano Karen Parks, Nobody Knows: Songs Of Harry T. Burleigh. He frequently performs on National Public Radio affiliate WPLN’s Live in Studio C program.
Samis is currently Principal Cellist with the Nashville Opera Orchestra and he was a member of the Nashville Symphony for 15 years. He is also Co-Principal Cellist of the Grammy®-nominated Gateway Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has recorded on Summit Records (Chamber Symphonies, released in 2012).
He has performed in music festivals around the world, including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, where he sat Principal Cello under the baton of Michael Tilson-Thomas.
Samis graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1999 with the Ellis A. Feiman Award in Cello. In Cleveland, Samis studied with the Cleveland Orchestra’s longtime Principal Cellist, Stephen Geber. He has also studied with Desmond Hoebig, Jerry Grossman (Principal Cellist, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Geraldine Sutyak.
Samis was awarded a 2013 Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Music for Solo Instrumental Performance. In his parallel career in clinical social work, Samis uses the evocative voice of the cello in psychotherapy to help people connect with their inner path toward healing. He plays an Italian cello made in Naples circa 1850.