Michael Noonan is a multi-instrumentalist and composer performing on vibraphone, piano, marimba and trombone. He became active as a performer and composer while studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where he received his undergraduate degree in professional music, graduating magna cum laude in 1984. In 1992 he received his graduate degree in jazz studies and composition from the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. Mike has been the leader of the Unified Jazz Ensemble since its inception in 1992, a group that continues to record original music and maintain an active performance schedule as an ensemble. Mike began earnestly studying composing in undergraduate college and continues to write using techniques developed there as well as through independent study. Small ensemble and large ensemble pieces are part of Mike’s compositional portfolio including some pieces that have been arranged and recorded by other artists.
Through Mike’s leadership, the UJE has been awarded multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, the Maryland State Arts Council as well as other arts organizations both locally and nationally for their efforts in arts education and performance. The group has toured the USA, Canada, Japan and South Korea and released their 10th recording “It’s Not Rocket Science” in 2014. Individually, Mike has been awarded grants from the mid-Atlantic Arts Alliance and the Maryland State Arts Council. As a freelancing musician in the Baltimore/Annapolis and Washington D.C. metropolitan area, Mike has performed with jazz legends Mundell Lowe, Charles McPherson and Gary Thomas as well as the many great jazz musicians living in the mid-Atlantic region. As an educator, Mike has served on the faculty as an adjunct professor in classes covering jazz studies, orchestration and performance at Gettysburg College, Luther College, the University of North Texas and Northern Virginia Community College. He is currently on the faculty of UMBC and Howard Community College and lives with his wife Heather and their daughters Keira and Claire in Severna Park, MD.