Dr. Michelle Colton is a versatile percussionist and steel panist who has performed throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and Central America. She has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company, Soundstreams, Esprit Orchestra, as well as her steel pan and mallet duo Oregano Percussion. She has also performed with NEXUS, Keiko Abe, and Dame Evelyn Glennie. Her debut solo album, Unpredictable Nature features three of her original compositions. She can also be heard on the JUNO Award-winning album, Detach.
She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto and her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa. She performed with the University of Iowa Steel Pan Ensemble which toured annually throughout the Midwest. She has studied steel pan with Liam Teague and has been a featured steel pan soloist with the Grinnell College, University of Iowa, and University of Toronto Percussion Ensembles, as well as the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan and the Cedar Rapids Jazz Big Band alongside Howard Levy from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. She recently commissioned and premiered Kevin Lau’s concerto, The Stars Are Not Aligned, which features instruments such as the steel pan, glass harmonica, marimba, among other percussion instruments.
She has directed the University of Toronto Steel Pan Ensemble, Royal Conservatory Steel Pan Ensemble, and is an Itinerant Steel Pan Instructor with the Toronto District School Board. She is also the director and founder of the University of Toronto Percussion Preparatory Department. She has been guest faculty with the Birch Creek Percussion and Steel Pan Academy, Prairie Music Residency, and the Iowa Ambassadors of Music European tours. Dr. Colton serves as the Chapter President of the Ontario Percussive Arts Society. She is an artist/endorser of Adams/Pearl Musical Instruments, Dream Cymbals and Gongs, as well as The Steelpan Store.