Michael Drapkin has enjoyed a career as a music performer, composer, arranger, educator, clinician and adjudicator. Following the Wall Street adage of eat what you kill, Drapkin developed his own band Yiddish Cowboys in Austin, Texas, and featured them in the Classical Crossover showcase he ran for South by Southwest in 2011, where he brought bands from around the world that are classically trained and have crossed over to the mainstream and brought their virtuosity with them. As a clarinetist, he was a member of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, as Associate Principal and Bass Clarinet and the New York City Opera Touring Company and Lake George Opera Festival, as Principal Clarinet, and has performed under conductors ranging from Leonard Bernstein to Seiji Ozawa. He has spent summers playing at Aspen and at Tanglewood as a Berkshire Music Center fellow, and was solo clarinetist and Executive Director of Music Amici, Rockland County, NY’s oldest professional chamber music group and one of the finest in the New York City area, and performed with them in Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Drapkin is widely known in the bass clarinet world as author of Symphonic Repertoire for the Bass Clarinet Volumes One, Two, Three and his upcoming Volume Four, which have become standard literature among orchestral bass clarinetists worldwide, and each fall he is a music judge and chief judge at high school marching band contests around the country for US Bands.
Drapkin has been an active member of The College Music Society, which represents college music faculty worldwide. He is chair of the Careers Outside the Academy Committee, previously chaired their Committee on Career Development and Entrepreneurship, and led a pre-conference seminar for them in Atlanta. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and has been a keynote speaker for their Southwest Chapter, and has made presentations at the CMS National Conference annually for the past ten years.