top of page


This work is about the state of flow.

This work is also about rigor and devoted discipline.

I’m a singer, performer, composer and powerful somatic  vocal mentor.  somatic voice mentor.  I’m known for my passionate music and my grounded, deep-listening approach to helping people of any level sing, speak, and move through the world with more skill, more truth, more embodied pleasure, and more joy.


My perspective is grounded in the Libero Canto© Approach which  I have studied singing and singing pedagogy on this path for over fifteen years (under Deborah Carmichael) in Vienna and New York City.  The Libero Canto Approach was first developed by Lajos Szamosi in Budapest before World War II.  This holistic, process-oriented approach rooted in the Western Classical Tradition is my primary vocal lineage. 


I’m the founding director of the embodied vocal-performance ensemble, Constellation Chor.  We seek wild embodiment through voice and body.   Want to know more about us? Click here.


I am also an accomplished and award-winning composer working at the nexus of theatre, experimental music, opera, new music, and improvisation. Want to know more about this part of my work?  Go here!  


I work successfully with professional singers and non-singers, many of whom come to me after experiencing extreme pain when speaking, or frequent voice loss,  and others of whom want to explore voice as life-force energy and for purposes of their own aliveness and self-expression.  I also work with singers with vocal injuries who need a teacher who is able to tune into and work with their nervous system states as well as their bodies, psyches and spirits, in the service of holistically healing an injury that has deep roots.  I’m proud and grateful to say I have had much success.


In addition to working privately with professional and avocational singers,  I’ve worked as a vocal coach for a number of musicals (Octet at Signature Theater; Moby Dick at American Repertory Theatre).   I’ve taught workshops at the American Theater Wing, The Performing Arts Project (TPAP), Prospect Theater Company, Signature Theatre, Millikin University,  the University of Puget Sound, and at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. 


What else? I was trained classically as a pianist.  I originally got my B.F.A from NYU (Tisch) in Musical Theatre.  I received my certificate in Integrated Somatic Trauma Therapy from the Embody Lab.  I’m a former yoga instructor. I studied  Hindustani singing in India. I’ve deep-dived into Anthroposophy for many years. I’m studied Tibetan Buddhism. I consistently practice Circling, Tantra, and Tibetan Buddhist meditation.  My ancestors are Jewish, Irish, and Scottish. Being in intimate relationship with singing is my life’s passion, encompassing all.  I believe process is product, that spirit flows, and that all black lives matter.



Composer Bio

Composer | Singer Marisa Michelson creates interdisciplinary music-theatre, choral work, and musicals, and is the Founding Director of the psychedelic singing collective Constellation Chor | an immersion in voice, movement, and spirit.  


The collective performs internationally and in New York City, and has expanded organically into the new music community, making their Lincoln Center debut in 2018 premiering Ash Fure’s Filament (New York Philharmonic conducted by Jaap van Zweden), and collaborating with artists and venues such as Claire Chase, Sarah Hennies, Paola Prestini, Maria Popova, Heartbeat Opera, Harvard Art Lab, Spectrum and Pioneer Works.


Since 2016, the Chor has been engaging at the intersection of singing, movement, deep listening, ritual-making and music-theatre while in ongoing residence at the historic Judson Memorial Church. In addition to collaborating with composers, choreographers, directors, videographers, and interdisciplinary artists, they also perform interdisciplinary pieces composed by Michelson. 


Michelson’s award-winning compositions and theatre pieces have been called “exquisite” (The New York Times), “otherworldly” (Steven Suskin), “gorgeous...adventurous” (Vox Magazine). Her off-Broadway musicals include Tamar of the River starring Margo Seibert (Prospect Theater; 2 Drama Desk Nominations) and One Thousand Nights and One Day starring Sepideh Moafi (Prospect Theatre, ART NY).  Naamah’s Ark, her oratorio for five choirs starring Victoria Clark (River to River festival in Rockefeller Park) was conducted by Ted Sperling.


Residencies: MacDowell, Ucross, New Dramatists, Pioneer Works, National Sawdust, Blue Mountain Center.


Awards: National Endowment for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Jonathan Larson Award, Eric Salzman Award for Music-Theatre, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MacDowell, Ucross, New Dramatists, Jonathan Larson Award. Upcoming: Toulmin co-fellow (along with Miriam Parker) with Center for Ballet Arts and National Sawdust. Marisa lives, works and teaches in New York City and Hudson, NY. 

Lineage / Education / Certifications

Libero Canto School for Singing - Twenty years practice as a student and apprentice under Deborah Carmichael and full-time teacher for the past 17 years 

Certificate in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy (Embody Lab) 

BFA, Musical Theatre performance, NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Currently pursuing a Circling Coaching Training with The Relateful Company

Currently completing a year-long Akashic Records mentorship with Leah Garza


2020/2021 – Toulmin Foundation Awarded Co-Fellow (with Miriam Parker) for National Sawdust and Center for Ballet Arts

2019 – Support from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts for Constellation Chor


2018 – Inaugural Eric Salzman Award for New Music Theatre for Song of Song of Songs 

2018 – Winner (with co-writer Jason Grote) of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grant for the new musical One Thousand Nights and One Day 

2017 – Winner of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Engagement Grant for Marisa Michelson’s Desire | Divinity Project

2016 – Residency at the Blue Mountain Center


2015 – MacDowell and UCross Fellowships 

2014 – Weston Playhouse Writer’s Residency 

2012 – Winner of a NAMT (National Alliance for Musical Theatre) Writer’s Residency award to work on The Grid at Millikin University.

2011 – Winner (with Joshua H. Cohen) of the Jonathan Larson Award

2011 – Theatreworks Palo Alto Writers Residency

2010 – Commissioned by Montclair University´s New Works Initiative to create a new musical adaptation of Jason Grote´s play, 1001

2009 – Winner of the American Musical Voices Project: the Next Generation commission from the Shen Family Foundation to create an original full-length musical for the Tony-Award Winning Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA): First full workshop, Tamar of the River, July 2010

2008 – The Shen Family Foundation Developmental Grant, in conjunction with the Signature Theater´s “American Musical Voices Project: the Next Generation” – Honoree

2008 – New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Workshop.

2007 – Fellowship to Compose Music and study Indian Hindustani singing in India


2006 – Winner of St. Botolph Grant-in-Aid for Composition


“Marisa Michelson’s music has an authenticity to it that seems to heal through vibration. She captures sound in its purest form.”

Times Square Chronicles

“Michelson presents a vibrant sonic landscape that ranges from Middle Eastern music to modern EDM… The show sounds heavenly.” – Time Out New York (One Thousand Nights and One Day)

“It was composer Marisa Michelson’s seraphim touch that lifted the piece to the heavens. Michelson’s iconic musical explorations…brought the beauty, sensitivity and exotic, ethereal allure to the show with her astounding songs.” – The Beirut Times (One Thousand Nights and One Day)

“TAMAR OF THE RIVER sometimes sounds like it hails from a world where pop music followed a very different evolutionary path. Its Asian-influenced sounds are the opposite of Hamilton’s contemporary tones — but it’s just as adventurous.” – VOX Magazine (Tamar of the River)

“Michelson’s challenging and tonally complex music is some of the most unique and beautiful I’ve heard in musical theater. When [Michelson] writes music for the river…one imagines that this is what the prophets heard when receiving the word of God.” – Zack Sullivan, Theatermania (Tamar of the River)

“Marisa Michelson’s music here is complex, haunting and exquisite.” – Tablet Magazine (One Thousand Nights and One Day)

“Ms. Michelson’s music is frequently exquisite and always melodic.” – The New York Times (Tamar of the River)

“Marisa Michelson’s music is hard to describe; otherworldly, perhaps?” – Playbill

“In TAMAR OF THE RIVER, it is the vocals that give the recording its majesty and opulence. Chants, improvisations, dissonance, rich chords, and so much more permeate the air, soul, and mind as the recording plays. The vocal compositions are complex and earthy…Listeners who have experienced the work of Dave Malloy will instantly draw comparisons to him. They will also draw comparisons to Steve Reich’s works, where repetition, layering, and convoluted musicality all add depth and surreal richness to his compositions.” – Steven Suskin (Author of “The Sound of Broadway Music”)

Marisa Michelson may well be one of the most exciting composers working in musical theater today…Michelson’s style is wholly unique and ignites listeners to sit up with curiosity and wonderment.”

Manhattan Digest

“Her musical language goes beyond words and includes all manner of vocalizing with words and wails receiving equal weight…gorgeous harmonies and mystical dissonances that put us in a meditative state.” – Voce di Meche


“With a rich tapestry of complicated choral and musical stylings, Marisa Michelson’s inventive and experimental score has been recorded…Not since Dave Malloy’s NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812… have I had the pleasure to experience a score so meaty, unique, and vastly interesting in the genre of musical theatre.” – Broadway World

“[Michelson’s] sonic expressions, from ethereal sounds to primal screams, animalistic wails and simply breath, are more aligned with vocal innovators like Kate Bush, Bjork, Florence Welch and even Yoko Ono than traditional musical theatre or opera.” – Cindy Sibilsky, StageBiz

“ …Lyrical, melodic, yet dissonent music… Marisa Michelson’s music…is haunting and ethereal… Rarely do you see a piece that is so new and enchanting.” – Times Square Chronicles


“Tamar of the River is a phenomenal effort of beauty.” – Theater is Easy


“It’s hard to imagine a more ambitious piece of musical drama coming out of indie theatre than Prospect Theater Company’s production of Tamar of the River…The narrative takes on immense power through Michelson’s rich and distinctive score.” – NY Theatre Now

“Tamar of the River…one of the most extraordinary scores in years.”

Jesse Green, New York Magazine

“Marisa Michelson…her presence is commanding as a goddess yet vulnerable as a maiden.”

Cindy Sibilsky, StageBiz



sampling of pivotal books / authors

“The Mysticism of Sound and Music” by Hazrat Inayat Khan

“The Prophets” by Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Zen and the Art of Archery” by Eugen Herrigel
“Emergent Strategy” by adrienne maree brown

“Modern Techniques of Vocal Rehabilitation” by Dr. Morton Cooper

“To Have Or To Be” by Erich Fromm
“My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resmaa Menakem
“Deep Listeners” by Judith Butler

“Cosmos and Psyche” by Richard Tarnas

“Waiting for God” by Simone Weil
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl


Judaism (Including Kabbalah)
Tantra (Student and Practitioner since 2012)
Anthroposophy (Studied and Practiced from 2006 - 2011)
Tibetan Buddhism and Vipassana
Circling (an authentic relating conversational practice, ongoing)
Hindustani Singing (Trained with a private teacher in India for four months in 2005) 

Classical Piano (Studied for fifteen years with Eugenie Malek)
Yoga (Trained to be an Anusara Yoga Teacher in 2003, taught Vinyasa Yoga in NYC for five years)


Meredith Monk
Pauline Oliveros
Nadia Boulanger
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Rudolf Steiner

Erich Fromm
Jeanne Birdsall (Photographer and children’s book author) Hafiz
Kimberly Anne Johnson (Nervous System)
Christine Schneider (Vocal Anatomy)
Adam Guettel (Studied Private Musical Theater Composition from 2003 - 2006) 

Richard Michelson (Father, Acclaimed Jewish Poet and Children’s Book Author) 

Jennifer Michelson (Mother, Massage Therapist and Ordained Minister)

bottom of page