A San Francisco Bay Area native, Michelle began writing songs at age 11. She took formal piano lessons sporadically but preferred playing by ear, also picking up bass and guitar in her teens. Michelle has embraced many musical styles over her career; her performance and recording credits include orchestra member in Lou Harrison’s internationally renowned Gamelan Si Betty (Indonesian orchestra), keyboardist for Chepito Areas (Santana’s original percussionist/arranger), chorus member in a Gilbert & Sullivan theater company, bassist for a grunge band, leader of a piano-based singer/songwriter project, and more. Besides studying classical and jazz piano (through SJSU and privately with Martan Mann), she has studied Latin piano/arranging (privately with Rebeca Mauleon) and Latin percussion (with Dan Sabanovich). Michelle is also co-author of a music-education book/CD called Musicreation.
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Nice! Excellent CD. — Mark Levine, Latin-jazz pianist/composer (Linda Chicana) and author of The Jazz Piano Book, and Jazz Theory Book, on Michelle’s CD, New Beginning
Michelle Pollace is a very gifted pianist and composer. Her original compositions shine with heart and beauty. — Mari Hall, visual artist
Michelle Pollace is a dream keyboardist for any guitarist and/or horn player, but stands on her own just fine. Lovely chord voicings, pulsating montunos, along with superb fusion chops on a moment's notice; what a treat she is to hear. — Oscar Moreno, gig review for Moonflower Cafe, July 2007