Michelle Kinney is a passionate and intrepid genre-hopping cellista. Michelle performs her own compositions with the cello/drum quartet Jelloslave, the Pipa, Veena and Cello trio Butterfly, and the new large improvising ensemble.Cherry Spoon Collective Michelle enjoys several musical collaborations with ensemble projects including the spoken word free improvising band Coloring Time, and with her husband, composer and guitarist Chris Cunningham in his “micro orchestra” Mississippi Peace; and with Twin Cities luminaries such as Nirmala Rajasekar, Prudence Johnson and Gao Hong.
She also collaborates frequently as a composer for dance and theater, notably with Kevin Kling & Michael Sommers, Stuart Pimsler Dance Theater, Paula Mann and Time Track Productions, Carl Flink and BLM, and the infamous Laurie Van Wieren.
Finally, Michelle is a devoted mom to her most loyal (though captive) audience, Ruby and Ivan, and to Cocoa the fabulous mutt.
In recognition of her artistic work as a composer, Michelle has received awards and grants from New Music USA, The Bush Foundation, The Knight Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, McKnight Foundation, NEA/Rockefeller, Meet the Composer, Harvestworks/Studio Pass, The American Composers Forum, and Minnesota State Arts Board.
Michelle earned a BA from Northwestern University, focusing on cello performance, composition and ethnomusicology/jazz studies (w/Paul Berliner). Returning to the Twin Cities, she spent 10 years composing and performing in Dance, Theater, Film and various performing ensembles, before moving to NYC for graduate school at NYU where she earned an MA in Performance Studies. Michelle spent 13 years in the downtown NYC music scene, and has worked with some of the most respected innovators in new music, including Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, Jason Hwang, Brandon Ross, Myra Melford, Mary Ellen Childs, Bun Ching Lam, Shi-Zheng Chen, Fast Forward and John Zorn.