Cellist Michael Kannen has distinguished himself as a musician and educator of uncommon accomplishment who is comfortable in widely diverse musical situations and venues. He was a founding member of the Brentano String Quartet and for seven years performed with that group on concert stages around the world, on radio and television, and on recordings. During those first seven years, the Brentano Quartet was awarded the first Cleveland Quartet Award, the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s award for best debut recital in England for the 1997-1998 season. With the Brentano Quartet, Kannen appeared regularly in such venues as Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Chatelet Theater in Paris, and the Sydney Opera House.
In addition to his work with the Brentano Quartet, Kannen has been a member of the Meliora String Quartet and the Figaro Trio. He is currently a member of the Apollo Trio. Kannen has been heard with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Berkshire Bach Society, and has appeared at major summer music festivals, including the Spoleto Festivals in Charleston, Italy and Australia, Chamber Music Northwest, the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove, England, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the Cascade Head Music Festival in Oregon, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Caramoor Music Festival, the Skaneateles Music Festival and has served on the faculties of the Yellow Barn Music Festival and Tanglewood, and has collaborated with such artists as Jessye Norman, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Sergiu Luca, Hilary Hahn, Donald Weilerstein, Pamela Frank, Leon Fleisher, Mitsuko Uchida, Peter Serkin, Paula Robison, Kenneth Cooper, David Krakauer, Charles Neidich, Steven Isserlis, and with jazz artists Michael Formanek and Uri Caine. Kannen frequently performs on period instruments, and has recorded the music of Robert Schumann on old instruments with the chamber group Context, in Houston. He has also recorded new music on the CRI label.
Kannen is currently the Director of Chamber Music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he holds the Sidney M. Friedberg Chair in Chamber Music. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, violist Maria Lambros, and their son, Daniel.