Michael Bednarsky is an 18-year old Senior at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School. He has been studying and practicing music since he was 5 years old, when he started taking piano lessons from Mary Jane Huskonen. He started taking clarinet lessons when he was 9 years old and added alto saxophone to his list at 12 years old. He took some trumpet lessons in the summer of 2012 after winning a trumpet from a raffle at Royalton Music Center. He also recently started studying bass clarinet and tenor saxophone. He is currently taking lessons on piano from Audrey White (he has also studied with Henry Orazi) and both clarinet and saxophone from Joe Bosoty. His main area of focus is on clarinet.
Michael participates in several school activities. He is active in the music department. He has been the first chair clarinet in the school’s Wind Ensemble (the highest level ensemble) since his Freshmen year. Another audition ensemble that he is in is the Jazz Ensemble, where he plays alto saxophone. He also participates in marching band. In his Sophomore year, he was a Squad Leader in the marching band and has worked his way up to Drum Major in his Junior year and continuing next year into his Senior year. He is the captain of the marching band’s loading crew, in charge of loading the large instruments onto the transportation truck. He has also participated in the Pep Band that accompanies the school’s basketball team. Another activity he participates in is the school’s Symphonic Orchestra and Pit Orchestra, being active for all 3 years of his high school career. He has also been in a seasonal woodwind choir that visits local nursing homes throughout the Christmas season. Michael also participates in his school’s show choir, Music in Motion and Commotion, by playing alto saxophone and keyboard.
Outside of school, Michael has played clarinet in the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony through 2010-2011. He currently plays clarinet and bass clarinet in the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO) and has been a member since 2011. In 2012, he participated in COYO’s European Tour, on which he toured to three major cities: Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg. He has performed concerts in globally recognized concert halls such as the Mozarteum and Rudolfinum. As a member of COYO, he has had the opportunity to work with members of the Cleveland Orchestra and guest conductors of the Cleveland Orchestra. For example, he has been able to work with Cleveland Orchestra clarinetists Franklin Cohen, Daniel Mckelway, Robert Woolfrey, and Linnea Nereim. COYO members also receive sectional coaching from Cleveland Orchestra members and Emeritus members. Some of the conductors he has worked with through COYO include Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero, Raphael Jimenez, Carl Topilow, and James Feddeck. Additionally, COYO has performed a concert alongside of the Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst conducting. COYO rehearses every Saturday at Severance Hall with the Music Director being the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, Brett Mitchell.
Other ensembles that he has participated in include the Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA) All-State Band (which performed at the OMEA Professional Developers Conference in February 2013), the Macy’s Great American Marching Band in 2013 (which marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), the Ohio State University Honor Band from 2011-2013, and the pit orchestra for Brecksville Little Theatre’s production of The Music Man in 2011.
In May 2013, Michael played a saxophone solo in a recital as part of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Gordon Square residency. He has also participated in the OMEA Solo & Ensemble contest every year since 2009 and has performed Class A solos on clarinet, saxophone, and piano. He has consistently earned superior ratings on clarinet and saxophone and has earned superior ratings on piano for the past 3 years. He has also performed with trios and quartets of various instrumentations at the contest.
Michael is the President of the BBHHS chapter of the national Tri-M Music Honor Society. Entrance to the society is based on involvement in musical activities and music-based volunteerism. He is also a member of the National Honor Society (NHS), with entrance based on academic achievement, involvement in extra activities, and volunteerism. He has also participated in Ohio Youth Leadership Association’s Youth in Government, a mock legislature in which students from all over Ohio convene in the state capital in Columbus and simulate a working state legislature. Michael also attended Drum Major clinics at Fred J. Miller Clinics and Smith Walbridge Clinics to learn marching, conducting, and leadership skills.
Michael is also active in volunteering his time. He was a volunteer for the Cuyahoga County Public Library, where he helped prepare children’s events. He has also volunteered at Severance Hall to help run the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events. For the past 3 years, he has toured local nursing homes, where he has played Christmas music throughout the month of December. Michael has provided background music on piano at events such as Brecksville Heartfelt Holidays and other gatherings. He has helped with fundraisers for the school’s band program, including setting tables for a pancake breakfast and directing traffic for a “Ford Drive One 4UR School” fundraiser. In 2012, he volunteered to be an assistant for the OMEA Large Group Orchestra adjudication event, where he assisted the adjudicators with their jobs.
Besides music, Michael is also very interested in computers and technology. He has worked for TheGadgetSite.com and Beckett Media, where his job was to compose articles to either be published online or in a printed magazine, Guide to Phone Apps. He also manages a YouTube channel as a hobby. He publishes informative videos such as how-to videos and reviews of software and hardware. The channel produces some revenue from advertisers. Technology and video production are big hobbies of his outside of the music world.