Steinway Artist Michael Rickman has been portrayed as “a resourceful and sensitive pianist, technically in control and emotionally rewarding.” New York Times critic, Bernard Holland, hailed him as “a sure and steady pianist.” Drew Murphy of the Daytona Beach News Journal wrote, “Michael Rickman communicated a sense of musicality, masterful technique, and unswerving control that stayed with him for the entire program…a happy combination of the head, hand and heart, he is an intelligent, even intellectual performer…” Having achieved critical acclaim on three continents, he was described by a South American critic as “a discriminating pianist, whose masterful touch equaled the challenges of each passage” (El Mercurio-Santiago). European critics valued his “technical precision and great tonal beauty, a performer with stylistic and nuance-rich acumen” (Saarbrücker Zeitung). “Michael Rickman, brilliant at the keyboard, played not as a technician, but as a musician, who lived the performance with both body and soul”(Badische Zeitung-Freiburg). His performances have taken him to many significant cultural centers around the world – Wagnersaal in Riga, Latvia; Alice Tully, Bruno Walter and Carnegie Halls in New York; Frutillar International Music Festival, Chile; as well as performances in Miami, Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Louisville, Kansas City, Sacramento, Toronto, London, Paris, and Frankfurt.
Additional international exposure includes appointment as visiting Professor at Stetson University’s sister institution, the Paedogogische Hochschule in Freiburg, Germany, in 1997.&nbsp; From 1999 through 2006, Dr. Rickman taught in the Stetson University summer program at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.&nbsp; In summer 2007, he joined the artist faculty of the prestigious Orfeo International Music Festival (formerly Schlern International Music Festival), Vipiteno, Italy, as a performer and teacher.&nbsp; In October of that year, he was invited to appear in a series of performances and master classes in Bolivia, assisting in the Centennial Celebration of the Bolivian National Conservatory in La Paz.
Michael Rickman joined the faculty at the acclaimed School of Music of Stetson University in 1983, where he is Professor of Piano. A highly sought-after performer and teacher, he maintains a studio of prize-winning students, preparing them for musical studies in the noted graduate programs of Yale University, Bard Conservatory, Boston University, George Mason University, Indiana University, University of Missouri/Kansas City, The Eastman School of Music, California State University, and Florida State University, among others, and many now hold prominent positions in the professional music world. Rickman is also founding Artistic Director of the Annual Festival of Stetson University Piano Scholars which brings world renowned artists to the Stetson University campus. Now in its 15th year, the weekend Festival consists of performances by artists and current Stetson Piano Scholars, masterclasses, auditions, and competition for prospective students who wish to be awarded the distinction “Stetson Piano Scholar.”
In 1990, Dr. Rickman was the first recipient of Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Award for Creative Activity and Research. In 1995, he received the highest honor given by Stetson University, the William Hugh McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching. He received additional grants from Stetson University allowing him to study the late works of Beethoven and Schubert with the pianist Edward Kilenyi, and the works of Twentieth Century Dutch composers with Dutch pianist-composer Piet Stalmeier. Professor Rickman has also served on the faculties of William Woods and Westminster Colleges in Fulton, Missouri, and at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.
A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Michael Rickman was privileged to have been a pupil of the late Grace Potter Carroll, herself a pupil of both Ferruccio Busoni and Theodore Leschetitzky. He holds degrees and the performer’s certificate from Mars Hill College and the University of North Texas where he was a pupil of Richard Cass and Jack Roberts. He studied further with Karen Shaw of Indiana University. In 1978, Michael Rickman received top honors in the Theodore Leschetitzky International Competition, Carnegie Hall, New York. For two seasons, he was resident pianist with the Petit Jean Music Festival, providing the opportunity to work with pianist Dalton Baldwin. He has appeared in concert with both the Audubon and Mendelssohn String Quartets, in conjunction with the Florida International Festival.
Dr. Rickman has performed Mozart Piano Concerti, K. 271, K. 449 and K. 595 the past three seasons with the Daytona Beach Solisti Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Susan Pitard Acree. Other concerto appearances with Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Stetson University Orchestra include Mozart Concerti, K. 482, K. 488 and K. 491; Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the Second Piano Concerto; Concerti of both Schumann and Grieg, and Wedding Cake by Camille Saint-Saëns. Dr. Rickman is a frequent adjudicator at various state, national and international competitions, has performed at national conferences of both the American Musicological Society and College Music Society, and was artist-clinician at the Alabama Music Teachers Association state conference in Tuscaloosa.
Michael Rickman’s recordings are available on the Lakeside Records label, Romantic Realms, with works of Schubert and Brahms, and Romantic Realms II, with works of Robert Schumann. His performances can also be heard regularly on Florida Public Radio.