Dr. Michael Jamanis is an award-winning violinist, educator, composer and activist who has performed in concert halls all over the world. He received a Bachelor of Music from The Julliard School, a Master of Music from Yale University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Rutgers University. He was a founding member of the acclaimed Newstead Trio, and a soloist on NPR radio and PBS television.
As a distinguished classical artist who toured for thirty years and collaborated with artists in a variety of genres, Michael was struck by the immense disparity in audience demographics between different types of music. He now collaborates with hip-hop, jazz and spoken word artists, as well as yoga masters and others, to broaden the spectrum of “classical” music. He believes that music has the power to transform and shape our existence. Using music to uncover what lies within allows us to both respect our past and embrace our evolution into the future.
The Ferguson uprising in 2014 was a very impactful turning point in Michael’s life. This solidified his desire to bring musical opportunities to under-resourced young people, and to broaden his own musical vocabulary. He has become a Racial Justice from the Heart facilitator and is founder of The Jamanis Project. Michael’s vision is to promote racial justice and provide an equitable environment for the violin to be learned and performed. He teaches a holistic approach to learning the violin that encourages a deep level of connection, openness and self-expression. The Jamanis Project helps students reduce stress and shame, releasing the emotional trap of fear and perfectionism. Students are encouraged to feel pride in both their progress and themselves, and become authentic musicians.
Michael is now Director of Music in the Schools, an educational program sponsored by Music for Everyone. The organization’s goal is to cultivate the power of music as an educational, community building and public health tool in Lancaster County. It serves approximately 400 students weekly providing individual lessons, classes, workshops and guest artists. In 2023 Michael and his Music for Everyone colleagues presented at the El Sistema USA symposium, focusing on equitable pedagogy in the music studio. He is also a senior adjunct professor at Franklin and Marshall College, where he teaches a private studio of violin and viola students and coaches chamber music ensembles.