Michael H. Coelho serves as the Director of Fine Arts for the Ipswich Public Schools in Ipswich, Massachusetts where he oversees all K-12 music, art, and drama educators and students. He is also entering his eighth year as Director of Orchestras for the Ipswich Public Schools where he is responsible for five ensembles ranging from grades 6-12. Aside from public school education, Mr. Coelho is part of the music education faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA, as well as adjunct faculty at Gordon College in Wenham, MA and serves as conductor for the Northeastern Massachusetts Youth Orchestras (NMYO). Synthesizing traditional orchestral performance with a modern approach, Coelho’s unique educational methods and conducting frequently lead his ensembles to statewide and national recognition.
In 2017 Coelho’s Honors High School Chamber Orchestra was invited to perform Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony for Strings at Carnegie Hall to which they were expressly complimented by four of the country’s leading conductors; Frank Battisti, New England Conservatory; Craig Kirchhoff, Univ of MN; Robert Reynolds, Thornton School of Music at USC; and Charles Peltz, New England Conservatory.“We often hear the pursuit of excellent teaching, but there were clearly things thought and done in the moment on the podium indicative of an exceptional musician,” says Charles Peltz.
At the core of Mr. Coelho’s artistry is a philosophy rooted in the power of music as a source of strength and healing. Last year his chamber orchestra students collaborated with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Voices of Hope adult choir for a fundraising gala video that helped raise over 1.1 million in support of the Cancer Center's most urgent clinical and research priorities. In 2012, Coelho founded the non-profit organization Concert for Hope, Inc. dedicated to promoting disease awareness and support through the production of annual concerts by an all-volunteer ensemble. The orchestra comprised amateur and professional musicians from across New England and has raised over $10,000 for charities like the Breast Cancer Institute of America, and the FLY Foundation.
In 2020, Mr. Coelho was recognized for outstanding teaching during COVID-19 by the Boston Globe’s Fenway Bowl Honor Roll, and in 2022 he was announced as one of ten finalists in the nation for the Music Educator of the Year Award by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum.
Mr. Coelho is often seen as adjudicator, manager and conductor for district festivals throughout the state of Massachusetts, for which he has been a member and volunteer for over ten years. In 2018 Coelho had the honor of serving as the first conducting fellow for the Cape Ann Symphony, a professional regional orchestra located in Northeastern Massachusetts where he conducted alongside maestro Yoichi Udagawa and led the pre-concert lecture series.
In addition to teaching, conducting, and arranging, Mr. Coelho enjoys an active freelance career in both violin and viola. He has performed with notable artists including the Hanson Brothers, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban, IL Divo, Itzhak Perlman, Denée Benton, Rita Wilson, and Cyndi Lauper throughout the east coast and has performed at venues such as Boston Symphony Hall, Tanglewood's Seiji Ozawa Hall, and New York City's Radio City Music Hall.