Born in 1961 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Michael Hester has had a fascinating career as a saxophonist. He has performed and recorded with Navajo musician and multiple Grammy Award nominee R. Carlos Nakai, toured Australia with the Arizona Saxophone Quartet and Mexico with The TOS Performing Arts Ensemble. Michael has improvised in performance and on recordings with the Sonoran Consort, recorded a CD of music by Bizet with the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico, performed countless recitals, made dozens of solo appearances with orchestras and bands, recorded nine CDs, including two solo discs, and premiered nearly 30 original solo and chamber compositions, some of which have become standards in the saxophone repertoire.
In addition to his active performance schedule, Michael Hester has devoted a great deal of personal and professional effort to teaching. Beginning his career as an educator while still in high school with the encouragement of his band director and long time friend Mr. Martin Benstein, Michael has energetically pursued teaching and coaching chamber music at various levels of the educational process. He was a graduate assistant at Arizona State University (1985-86) and the University of Arizona (1993-94), has held faculty positions at Northern Arizona University (1989-93) and The University of Arizona (1994-97), and has maintained thriving independent private teaching studios for most of the past 25 years.
Michael is much sought after as an adjudicator for solo and ensemble festivals and concerto competitions and has been a clinician for Yamaha since 1991. His students have achieved such honors as the Downbeat Student Collegiate Chamber Music Award, Level One in the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts, the Yamaha Young Artist Award and numerous concerto competitions. In 1996 Michael was awarded the O.M. Hartsell Excellence in Teaching Award by the Arizona Music Educators Association.
Michael Hester is the author of a critically acclaimed method book called Saxophone Master Classes, has written articles for the Yamaha Educator Series, Saxophone Journal and Saxophone Symposium. His research into early twentieth-century band music is cited regularly in books, CD booklets, articles and dissertations by scholars around the world. Dr. Hester holds performance degrees from Indiana University, Arizona State University and The University of Arizona, and his teachers have included such notable figures in the saxophone community as Elizabeth Ervin, Trent Kynaston, Jean-Marie Londeix, Eugene Rousseau, Donald Sinta, Larry Teal and Joseph Wytko.