Mike Bell is a scholar and author by day but a composer and performer by night.

Michael Bell is a composer, songwriter, and performer in both classical and grassroots traditions, often combining the two. His composition has an engaging and melodic sound and includes dozens of works for chamber ensembles, symphony, choir, mandolin orchestra, and solo piano. 

He recently completed his first symphony, Regeneration: A Pentalogy, which is currently being choreographed by Kanopy Dance and premiered by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, through a three-year long collaboration they call ConFluence.

In 2010, Michael co-founded the award-winning quintet Graminy, whose four albums bring grassroots and classical music together in a style the group calls “class-grass.”

Michael is also a songwriter, focusing on social and environmental themes. He loves to write instrumentals that contribute to contradance, bluegrass, and Klezmer traditions, and has composed over a hundred reels, jigs, waltzes, airs, horas, and doinas.

Michael performs widely on mandolin, guitar, and banjo, as well as a vocalist. Among his bands are Tsuzamen, Elm Duo, Noise of the BoysGraminy, and Fiddlasaurus Rex. He played for many years with the Barn Owl Band, with whom he recorded three albums.

Michael is also an author and scholar. See his separate site on his books, articles, and teaching HERE.


April 19-21, 2024 (Fri-Sun)

ConFluence: A Prelude is the launch of a world premiere and a multi-phased, creative collaboration between Kanopy Dance and Madison composer, Michael Bell (Bell), that is designed to evolve over the course of several seasons. For the initial phase of this “master work in progress”, Kanopy’s co-artistic directors, Robert E. Cleary and Lisa Thurrell, choreographed  3 of the 5 movements Bell’s new symphony, Regeneration: A Pentalogy, creating a modern dance work they call Renascence. Below is a sample of Renascence, using music from movement V of Regeneration. A playlist of the entire performance is HERE.


July 24th, 7PM

Mozart, Bach, Bernstein, and Bell hit the town for this outdoor “Concert on the Square” of orchestral stars, in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Kanopy Dance will perform live movements IV and V of Bell’s Regeneration: A Pentalogy, celebrating the Earth and our care for it. The dancing will be projected on large video screens. And there will also be other great music too!


Loving of the Land

Graminy and the Blue Dog Consort perform Michael's anthem for the environment

Sweet Pandamonium

Jason Kutz plays Michael Bell! A pre-release from a forthcoming album of Michael's piano preludes

Shalom, Salaam

A song for peace that came to Michael in a dream. Performed by Tsuzamen

Live at the Brink

Graminy's live album, released in 2019.

Dance of the Plants

Graminy's 3rd album, released in 2016.


Graminy's 2nd album, released in 2013, as part of the "D-Composition" project with the Wormfarm Institute


Noise of the Boys


Elm Duo