It seems that no matter how large or small an audience is, San Francisco Bay Area based vibraphonist Michael Whalen is asked a host of similar questions. “Is that a xylophone?” is perhaps the most common, and often other questions revolve around the instruments lack of familiarity. Believing that the vibraphone is one of the most underutilized and generally undeveloped acoustic instruments today, he seeks to increase awareness for the little known flexibility and many textures that it provides in addition to his musicality and performances. He studied with Ed Saindon, one of the greatest virtuosos on vibes and a master technician, at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Awarded a scholarship upon his admission, he graduated with a degree in Performance in the Fall of 2016 after 2 and a half years of study.
     Introduced to music at a young age, he became interested in studying music professionally after hearing John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme in 2012. Studying with internationally touring vibraphonist Christian Tamburr and Los Angeles based Nick Mancini, Michael received awards for featured solos at CSU East Bay, the San Mateo Jazz Festival, as well as a local arts scholarship in the name of Susan B. McClendon. To date he has performed as a leader and featured artist in South Bay venues such as Cafe Pink House, the Hedley Club, and the Art Boutiki. He is also an occasional member of the Bay Area group Octobop and performed with them at the 2015 San Jose Summer Jazz Festival.
     Since graduating, Michael has returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and continues to work as a freelance musician. In addition, he has plans to publish articles concerning the vibraphone and its development and is pursuing composition in a variety of settings.