Mikel Bell


Mikel was born in Victorville, California in 1964, and began playing piano at the age of eight. He also played clarinet, trombone, saxophone, and percussion throughout junior high and high school. He graduated from high school in Tahsis, BC, Canada, where he was the town's only piano teacher at the age of 17.

He continued his education at Shoreline Community College in Seattle, where he studied piano with Nancy Matesky, and trombone with Barry Ehrlich. This was interrupted by an opportunity to work as a church music director. After spending twenty years as a church musician, performing and recording artist, private piano teacher, and recording studio owner/engineer, Mikel returned to school to pursue a degree in Music Education. After an encounter with eighth blackbird, pianist Lisa Kaplan encouraged him to pursue composition.

Mikel now holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Boise State University.  There he studied composition with Prof. J. Wallis Bratt, played percussion in the BSU Symphonic Winds under the direction of Prof. Marcellus Brown, and sang in both the Jazz Choir and BSU’s premiere classical chorus, Meistersingers. He received the Griff and Mary Bratt Music Composition Award for three consecutive years.  Mikel has received commissions from the Marsing (Idaho) High School Band and Choir, trumpeter Dawn Sandmeyer, the Biotzetik Basque Choir, and the Treasure Valley Youth Symphony.

His arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner for Brass Ensemble was featured at the 2006 Boise State University commencement ceremonies, and was given special recognition by university president Robert Kustra. His original score is featured on a short film entitled Proserpine, produced by Born Mad Films. Mikel is the founder of the Idaho Composers Alliance, and is also a member of the Society of Composers, the National Association of Composers/USA (NACUSA), the American Composers Forum, MACRO, the American Music Center, the Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Composers, and the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers.