Michael Lawson, continuo cello
Michael Lawson has developed a unique presence as a cellist, focusing on the rhythmic and improvisational styles of early music, jazz, and Celtic music. He has been commended for his “fearless rhythm.” (William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee) His secondary instruments are the lute and the theorbo.
Michael received his Bachelor of Music Degree from California State University, Sacramento, where he studied cello performance with Lubomir Georgiev, then Principal Cellist with the Sacramento Symphony. While completing his degree, Michael performed with the Aspen Music Festival in 1990 and 1991, where he met his wife, Lisa.
In 1992, Michael’s interest in jazz and original music led him to perform in masterclasses with Mark Summer, cellist of the Turtle Island String Quartet. Shortly thereafter the Lawsons constructed a quartet of electric instruments, working with Stanley Marquiss of American Power and Light (www.americanpowerlight.com), with which they performed all classical concerts. At this time, from 1996-98, the Lawsons created and performed in a monthly concert series, Music at the White Bird Gallery, in Sutter Creek, California.
In 1999 and 2000 the Lawsons were awarded an Artist in the Schools Grant by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, to teach strings to 80 students at John Morse Waldorf Methods Magnet School. Michael is a devoted teacher, currently teaching cello at the Pease Conservatory of music in Sacramento where he maintains a studio of 35 private students. The Lawsons continue to educate school children by performing the original production Music Journey at school assemblies throughout California and the Northwest.
Michael decided to pursue continuo playing on Baroque cello in the late 1990s, studying the style with Pheobe Carrai, Michael Sand, Richard Webb, and Elizabeth Field. Michael co -founded the baroque music ensemble Sacramento Baroque Soloists in 2001 and continues to lead as Continuo soloist.
The Lawsons live near Ione, California, with their two sons, Cameron and Liam. They live in a passive-solar straw-bale house, which they built. They enjoy sailing their 26 ft. Balboa when time allows.