Saxophonist, composer, educator, and curator, Michael Rene Torres, currently serves as Lecturer of Saxophone at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Lecturer of Saxophone and Composition at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, and during the summer teaches saxophone at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble (CODE); a 501(c)3 nonprofit contemporary music ensemble, currently in its fifth season, that is dedicated to the promotion, performance, and perception of contemporary concert music in Central Ohio. Additionally, Michael is an Advisory Board member of the Johnstone Fund for New Music which advances the performance of new music for the benefit of the Central Ohio community.
Michael has presented recitals, clinics, and masterclasses at conferences and universities throughout the USA. As an advocate of contemporary music, Michael has commissioned and premiered several works for the concert saxophone and is an active chamber musician as a member of Tower Duo with flutist, Erin Helgeson Torres. Tower Duo specializes in creating engaging musical experiences and commissioning new concert works by living composers to advance the growing repertoire of the flute and saxophone duet. Tower Duo recently recorded their debut album, Crosswind, under the PARMA Recordings label in January of 2019 which features the duo’s favorite collaborations with composers from the first decade of their artistic work.
A winner of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and the Greater Columbus Arts Council Composition Fellowship, Michael’s compositional interests are in chamber music that explores the juxtaposition of consonance and dissonance and is often inspired by psychology and poetry. He describes his music as dramatic and theatrical with complex, intricate moments and calm, introspective moments. Torres’ recent performances include premieres by the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra, the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, the Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble, the Muskingum University Faculty Brass Quintet, Divertimento Flute Quartet, Tower Duo, and No Exit New Music Ensemble.
Fiercely committed to growing community and culture in Central Ohio, Michael has worked to produce events in collaboration with the VIVO Music Festival, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Johnstone Fund for New Music, and Chamber Music Columbus. He has previously served as Artist in Residence with the Wexner Center for the Arts Pages Program (2017-2018), Assistant Dean of Students at the Brevard Music Center Festival and Institute (2010-2015), Executive Committee member of the Society of Composers, Inc. as the Editor for the bimonthly national SCI Newsletter (2012-2016), Assistant Event Coordinator for The Ohio State University Contemporary Music Festival (2010-2012), and as the General Manager of the 2013 National Conference of the Society of Composers, Inc.
He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (DMA-saxophone, MM-composition), Northwestern University (MM-saxophone), and Stetson University (BME-education). He has studied saxophone with James Bishop, Frederick L. Hemke, James Hill, and Joseph Lulloff and studied composition with Thomas Wells and Kari Juusela. Michael is a Conn-Selmer Endorsing Artist and performs exclusively on Selmer Paris saxophones. He is also an avid amateur acrylic painter, black & white photographer, and collector of field recordings.