Michael Joseph Barrett was a member of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir from 1992 to 1997. He obtained the degrees BMus in Performing Arts (cum laude) in 2005 and MMus (Performing Arts), specialising in choral conducting from the University of Pretoria. He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from UNISA and a Performance Licentiate in Singing (2008). He is in the final stages of completing his Doctorate of Music at the University of Pretoria, specialising in Choral Conducting.
Mr Barrett was a member of the University of Pretoria Camerata for most of his student career and was appointed assistant conductor in 2004. He has served as an adjudicator for national and international choir competitions and regularly presents workshops on choral music and pedagogy. In 2013, he was appointed as full-time lecturer at the Department of Music and conductor of the University of Pretoria Camerata. At present he is also the musical director and conductor of The Chamber Singers, an adult choir he founded in 2012.
In 2009, Michael Barrett worked with Bo Johannson (Sweden) during the World Symposium on Choral Music in Denmark. The following year he conducted the Berlin Radio Choir with Simon Halsey (UK) and Joe Miller (USA), and in 2013 he worked alongside Nicol Matt (Germany) on a programme of Morten Lauridsen’s music. Michael has also worked alongside Maria Guinand (Venezuela), Thomas Caplin (Norway), Andre Thomas (USA) and several other conductors.
Barrett has won many national and international awards for conducting. His choirs have won choral competition all over the world including The 8th World Choir Games (Latvia 2014); St Petersburg Choral Competition (Russia 2013); Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (Wales 2012); Krakow International Advent Choral Competition (Poland 2012); Europe and its Songs (Spain 2010); and the International Youth Music Festival (Slovakia 2010). Michael is also an active composer and arranger. His music is published by both Santa Barbara Music Publishers and Baobab Music Publishers. His work “Indodana” was selected for a reading session to be presented at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in Salt Lake City in February 2015. Michael attends workshops regularly to stay up to date with all the latest trends in choral music.