Michael Carney

On June 14, 2012, Bob Cole Conservatory faculty member Dr. Michael Carney passed away. We lost a colleague and a friend–a member of our family. A memorial concert will be held on Sunday, September 16th.  We will celebrate Michael’s legacy with current and former students playing the music he loved and brought into their lives.

Dr. Carney was Director of Percussion Studies at the Bob Cole Conservatory for thirty-one years. He taught generations of percussionists and directed the World Percussion Group, Steel Drum Orchestra, and the Drums and Drummers Project. He taught classes in World Music required for all music majors and also open to the entire university.

Michael traveled the world performing, teaching, and studying. His performance expertise ranged from classical to jazz, and included musical instruments and styles from West Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil. In the summer of 2005, Michael completed his first jazz concert tour of Brazil, performing vibraphone and steel pan in concerts. His concert in Rio de Janeiro was honored by the Jazz Society of Rio de Janeiro as the #2 International Jazz Concert of the Year (Wayne Shorter was #1) and Carney was named as the #3 International Jazz Musician of the Year (tied with Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove).

He was founder and director of the World Percussion Project, a program that took American professionals, students, and teachers abroad for intensive study of music and culture. The project has taken participants to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and Ghana, West Africa. His musical journeys also took him to Spain, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Trinidad, the Philippines, and Thailand.

As a classical percussionist he performed with the North Carolina Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. Carney was been featured as a steel pan soloist with several symphony orchestras including the Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Tulsa Philharmonic, Modesto Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Wichita Symphony, and Long Beach Symphony Orchestra performing his own compositions.

Michael Carney was born in 1952 in Palmyra, New York. He earned degrees in percussion performance from East Carolina University, the Eastman School of Music, and North Texas State University. He also studied at the International Center for African Music and Dance in Ghana, and the Oficina de Investigaçaõ Musical and Rio Gruppo Percussaõ in Brazil. He is survived by his wife Grace and their daughter Jasmine, Nikolaus and Noelle and their mother Jann, his mother Jan, stepmother Shirley, brother Brian, and sisters Debbie and Tricia.

Please help us celebrate Michael’s life by leaving your memories, stories, and comments below. The comments will be moderated to off keep spam, so your comment may not show up immediately.

[if you would like to download the collage used as the background for this site, please visit: Carney Collage]