Michael Massey was born in England and emigrated to Canada in 1957. His early piano studies with Jean-Pierre Vetter Edmonton were the prime influence in his development as a musician. Later studies at the University of Alberta earned him a Bachelor of Music degree and the gold medal in piano performance of the Western Board of Music. Following his graduation he spent two years studying at the Geneva Conservatory where he was unanimously awarded the "Premier Prix de Virtuosité" and performed as soloist with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
Mr. Massey's activities as a musician are many and varied. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Canada, England and Scotland and has performed on numerous occasions on CBC radio and television.
As an accompanist he is particularly renowned for having worked with many major performing artists from Canada and abroad. He recently gave a course in conducting at the University of Alberta where he has had a long association as a coach (vocal and chamber music) and accompanist. Mr. Massey is currently part of the collaborative pianist team for the Music and Sound summer programme at the Banff Centre for the Arts where he coaches, conducts and accompanies young instrumentalists from around the world. Mr. Massey has appeared frequently as soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and has also been its orchestral pianist for over twenty-five years. He is active as a piano teacher and his students have received local and national awards and international acclaim.
As a conductor, he has been deeply influenced by his studies in England in 1984 with the renowned pedagogue, George Hurst.
Since 1977, he has been Music Director of the Edmonton Youth Orchestra programme. In 1978 he started the Intermediate Orchestra which continues to provide orchestral experience for younger players before moving to the Senior Orchestra.
In 1980 Mr. Massey started the Northern Alberta Concerto Competition where such artists as Michael Rose, Amanda Forsyth, Jens Lindemann and Angela Cheng performed their first concertos with the EYO. This competition continues to provide valuable performing experience for young soloists.
In the following years Mr. Massey took the EYO on tour to Los Angeles, Australia, Austria, Great Britain, Ontario, Quebec and Northern Alberta. The Alumni of the EYO are found in almost every professional Canadian Orchestra and such renowned groups as The Canadian Brass, The St. Lawrence Quartet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Boston Symphony. Under his leadership it has also produced a whole generation of educated and enthusiastic listeners. The EYO has also produced five compact discs displaying a wide variety of repertoire.
In 1988 and 1996 Mr. Massey wrote and published The Canadian Repertoire Manual, a source book and analysis of Canadian music suitable for youth orchestras in order to encourage the performance of Canadian music by youth orchestras throughout Canada.
Mr. Massey appears as guest conductor locally and abroad having worked with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Scottish National Orchestra. In 1988 Mr. Mass was invited to conduct and play in the Hoffnung Music Festival concerts with the prestigious Philharmonia Orchestra of London. This event was recorded on the Decca label.
In 2002, for his contribution to the cultural life of the city, Mr. Massey was inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame as an Artist–Builder and also received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.