Michael LaCroix, PhD (University of Chicago)As a dedicated teacher who comes from a family of teachers, it was only natural that Dr LaCroix began offering lessons in piano and guitar as a teenager growing up in Windsor, Ontario, first in his own home studio, and later at the Canadian Conservatory, and the Académie Ste Cécile. Since then, he has held positions at the University of Windsor, Wheaton College Conservatory in Illinois, and the University of Chicago, teaching a variety of courses in music theory, composition, musical theater, ear training and keyboard skills. He has worked as composer-in-residence at the University of Chicago's prestigious Laboratory Schools (K-12); has presented his music to Windsor area high school students as a commissioned composer for the Windsor Symphony with a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts; served as coach and composer-presenter for the Music Teachers of Hyde Park Ensemble Fest and New Music Workshop respectively; together with his wife Elizabeth, has led countless interactive workshops and recitals for their students in Chicago and Montréal; and, most recently, worked as an instructor of Chamber Music and Improvisation at the Montréal Suzuki Institute 2017. As a lover of jazz as well as classical and experimental music, he encourages the natural playfulness innate in all students, young and old, by including elements of improvisation in most lessons.
Technical skill always serves that primary goal.
As a composer, LaCroix's music, for solo instruments, small ensembles, as well as opera and full orchestra, has been performed across Canada, the USA, South America, and Europe, and has been awarded prizes in Canada, the USA, and Bulgaria. He earned a PhD in Music Composition from the University of Chicago, studying with Marta Ptaszynska and Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Shulamit Ran. While in residence at the U of C, his music was performed by multi-Grammy Award winning ensembles: eighth blackbird, the Pacifica String Quartet, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; and, he was among a select few alumni to be included in the 50th Anniversary Concert of the Contemporary Chamber Players at the U of C.
Along with his wife and three young daughters, the LaCroix family recently moved back to Canada, and are happy to call Montréal their home! Dr LaCroix is also a former restaurant cook, and has been enjoying discovering all of the amazing local food products Québec has to offer.