Michael Folker has been performing in the Chicagoland area for the past 28 years. In addition to being a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta, he is also percussionist with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic.
Mr. Folker is also principal percussionist with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. Additionally, he has performed and recorded with the Chicago Symphony, Grant Park Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Symphony. He has also performed with pop groups such as the Moody Blues, Kansas, and Styx as well as classical performers such as Luciano Pavarotti and Victor Borge.
Mr. Folker has performed both on stage and on television with such artists as Celine Dion, Linda Ronstadt, Andrea Bocelli, Art Garfunkel, The Three Tenors, Doc Severinsen, The Irish Tenors, Johnny Mathis, Charlotte Church, and Mannheim Steamroller.
In addition to live concerts, he has recorded for both television and radio commercials, including Kellogg’s Cereals, United Airlines, McDonald's, and Nintendo.
Mr. Folker is a graduate of DePaul University where he earned a Master’s Degree in Performance, where he studied with Mr. Al Payson of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Mr. Michael Green of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Performance from Millikin University during which time he also studied with Mr. Tom Akins, timpanist of the Indianapolis Symphony.
When not performing, Mr. Folker also teaches percussion at Wheaton College’s Music Conservatory in Wheaton (IL). He is also Director of Percussion at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn (IL) and Judson University in Elgin (IL). Mr. Folker is the creator of “The Magic of Music” and “The Magic of Rhythm”, both of which are educational programs that incorporate his talents as a professional illusionist/magician and are designed to teach young audiences about the wonders of live music.
He is married to violinist Daniela Folker, and they are the proud parents of their 12-year old son Christopher who creates the magic in both their lives.