dr. william braz
Michael Braz received his B.M. and M.M. degrees from the University of Miami, later completing a Ph.D. as a University Fellow at Florida State University. A keyboard soloist in England’s Haslemere Festival of Early Music, he has also collaborated with numerous orchestras, music festivals, and ensembles ranging from chamber music to jazz and rock.
While teaching at Miami’s Barry University, Braz wrote and premiered his first opera, "Memoirs from the Holocaust", inspired by a visit to the Dachau concentration camp site. He has written orchestral/choral commissions for professional, collegiate, and school/community ensembles across the country, and was both a recipient of an American Composers Forum/Rockefeller Brothers Fund “Faith Partners” grant and the 2006 commissioned composer for the Georgia Music Teachers Association. With over 20 published works in print, his recently completed commissions include Dances With Spiders (bassoon, string trio), A Wildacres Triptych (flute choir), and The Music in the Rainbow (children’s choir, piano), which was premiered this summer at the Sigma Alpha Iota National Convention in Chicago. In celebration of Georgia Southern University’s Centennial Celebration, he premiered his second opera (A Scholar Under Siege) concerning racial politics in 1941 Georgia and the firing of a respected college president by the populist governor of that state.
In his many years as a music educator, Braz has served as Associate Director of the Miami Choral Society, Conductor/Musical Director of the Boy Singers of Maine, and Founder/Director of Tallahassee’s Capital Children’s Chorus and the Statesboro Youth Chorale. In the past, he has held various state leadership positions for Georgia Music Teachers Association and Georgia Music Educators Association and also served the American Choral Directors Association as National Repertoire and Standards Chair for Boychoirs. In 2008, he was honored by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia as a recipient of their lifetime achievement “Signature Sinfonian” award.
As a Professor of Music at Georgia Southern University and a 23-year faculty member, Dr. Braz teaches music composition, theory, and aural skills, as well as courses on such subjects as Finale music software and Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He is currently a member of Georgia Southern’s Faculty Senate and represents the Senate on the university’s Strategic Planning Committee. A book and music reviewer for various journals and publishers, Braz is in demand as a conductor, clinician, lecturer, and adjudicator. In the past, Braz has served as President of the Statesboro Arts Council and received Georgia Southern’s President’s Medal, the university’s Award for Excellence in Service, the Ruffin Cup faculty award from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, The Boys and Girls Club’s Volunteer of the Year award, and the Statesboro Herald’s “Humanitarian of the Year” recognition. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro, and his service projects include fundraising for various arts organizations and piano teaching at Statesboro’s Joseph’s Home. His hobbies are comparative religions and trekking in the Nepal Himalayas, and he has recently completed a one-year music teaching sabbatical in England, Nepal, and China.