BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Pianist Benjamin Michael will join the Wharton Institute Performing Arts School faculty as an instructor and collaborative pianist.

A native of New Jersey, Michael has performed extensively in the Northeast and has been a featured guest artist in the Skaneatles Music Festival and the Classic Chamber Concerts series in Naples, Florida. Other performances include solo recitals at the Centre for Visual and Performing Arts in Newnan, Georgia and the Texas State International Piano Festival in San Marcos, Texas. Michael was a multiple year scholarship recipient at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and PianoFest in the Hamptons, where he performed in master classes as well as in public concerts. Michael has performed with the Contemporary Music Ensemble of Northwestern University and has participated in the ChamberFest! music festival at the Juilliard School. Michael has participated in the Gluck Community Service Fellowship Program, where he performed at healthcare institutions throughout New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University.

Says Michael, "I am very excited to start teaching at Wharton! I believe that learning music should be both enjoyable and educational, and have had experience teaching students of all ages. I aim not only to teach students the necessary skills to play the piano, but also strive to develop their enthusiasm for music."

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Michael can be heard on the Performing Arts School Salon Series on Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. For more information, visit or call 908-790-0700.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.

Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. PMP provides intensive, low-tuition musical training to students throughout Paterson after school. Students study a primary instrument (violin, cello, viola, bass, clarinet, flute, trumpet, or percussion) and participate in ensemble practice and instrumental sectionals. Students perform frequently for the school and community. PMP also offers a Saturday Community Music Program which includes a city-wide orchestra, intergenerational choir, and an Afro-Fusion percussion ensemble. PMP now serves almost 300 students in grades 1-8 from five Paterson Public Schools including the Community Charter School of Paterson, School 1, School 26, School 15, and Norman S. Weir Elementary School. For more information, visit

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.