I was born in Conroe, but my family left soon after, so I’ve been a ‘Dallasite’… ‘Dallasian’… ‘Dallizen’… or whatever we are called for most of my life.  I began playing guitar at the age of twelve.  I saw a skater (hey Dan, I hope you are well wherever you are) playing Metallica.  He was my age, and I thought, “If I learn to play guitar, I can be cool like that guy!” So I learned to play guitar.

The ‘coolness’ never happened, unfortunately.

I did indeed learn classical guitar by ear, starting first with Christmas carols as a present for friends and family one year.  By 17 I found that I was enjoying the control I had on nylon strings more than the unruliness I felt when playing an electric guitar.  I had joined the band and was playing trumpet, but wanted to compete for UIL in guitar.  They said, ‘sure, but it has to be classical.’  I really didn’t know all that entailed, so I embarked on what has been a life long learning process (so far).   The first two pieces I learned were the Bach BWV 999 Prelude and the Scarlatti Sonata in E Minor K11:

In college (the first time ;) ) I had many South American, Asian, and Turkish friends that would introduce me to music from various parts of the world, most notably Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paco de Lucia, and Ketama.

Taking into account that I grew up listening to America, Bread, and Jim Croce, these sounds all rang pure to me as the guitar was prominently, masterfully, and lovingly displayed. When you listen to my own work, you can hear something of a mesh of these various influences.

I’ve recently returned to school for a degree in Music Education at Texas Woman’s University. I’m now focusing on classical voice. At one point I intended to go study with Adam Holzman, but that was not to be.

I went to Brookhaven where Carlo Pezzimenti suggested I come to TWU. Initially I planned on studying guitar, but I was informed was I got to TWU that guitar was not the most practical instrument to concentrate on if you were pursuing music education. I decided after a heated debate with myself to pursue voice and choir.

In addition, I’m also forcing myself to become a better pianist, and taking up the cello as well. I can’t quite say when those sounds will make it into my original music at the moment – needless to say I have a lot of work to do.

In 2005 I finished my second full length album, “A Renaissance”, with the help of some amazing people – John Landefeld, Roberta Masciarelli, Jim Herndon, and Dr. Wesley Burgess. Without them, the album would never have seen the light of day.

Now, in 2010, I’m working on several projects. One is original composition, another is arrangements of jazz standards, and another is classical repertoire for the guitar (and by “classical”, I of course mean in the more general sense.) Check out the store if you’re interested in my albums or my new recordings, or in simply lending a helping hand to a college student.

Thanks very much for taking a look at what I do.

-Michael Tillman

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