Michael J. Bergeman, PMHS Class of 1988, is a world-renowned, Grammy-winning musical performer, songwriter, composer, and innovator. His sensitive and creative approach to music making has led to performances and collaborations with world class musicians and composers from across a wide range of genres. Michael aims to remain faithful to the spirit that unites many of the world’s richest music traditions while continuing to develop his own unique voice. Following a passion for the sounds and rich cultural traditions of the accordion, Michael has created innovative performance techniques that work in harmony with his Inspired mi. 21st Century music technology. His vision has reached its culmination in the hyper-accordion, an acoustic accordion with extended range and expressive capabilities.

Michael’s musical passions first blossomed and developed on the violin, in chorus, and then on keyboards at Tremont Elementary, Oregon Middle School, PMHS and at St. Sylvester’s Church in Medford. Michael then went on to study at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, majoring in piano and electronic music synthesis and performance, winning multiple awards and scholarships.

Michael’s composition Three Roads premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2007. The piece weaves excerpts from Dante Alighieri, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman into a sonic tapestry. Treny had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in 2008, featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw and commissioned by the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation. With the composer Osvaldo Golijov, Michael spent Thanksgiving Day 2005 at Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi concentration camp in Poland, performing classical works for a BBC film commemorating the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. He also collaborated with Golijov on the soundtracks for the Francis Ford Coppola movies Tetro and Youth Without Youth. Damogomi, commissioned by cellist Yo-Yo Ma for his Silk Road project, premiered at Harvard University’s New College Theater in 2011. 

The year 2011 was an exceptionally busy one for Michael. Kicking off the unique project he named GIG 365 on January 1, he gave at least one daily public performance somewhere for 365 consecutive days, mostly with his eclectic trio, Groanbox. Michael played wherever he was invited—in churches, schools, prisons, on street corners and in concert halls—in his home city of New Orleans and in 40 other states plus Latin America and Europe. Two of those performances took place at Tremont Elementary and the Patchogue Theater for Performing Arts.
Michael is truly a unique and passionate musical talent. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, the very talented singer Yulene Velasquez, and their young son Gabriel.