Michael Rusinek joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1998 as Principal Clarinet. Born in Toronto, Canada, his early studies were with Avrahm Galper at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He later attended The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Upon graduation, he was appointed by Mstislav Rostropovich to the post of Assistant Principal Clarinet with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In addition to his position in the Pittsburgh Symphony, he has performed as guest Principal Clarinet with the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada, the St Louis Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Rusinek has performed as a soloist with many orchestras and as a recitalist across Canada, on CBC Radio, and throughout the United States and Israel, including appearances with the Czech Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic, Royal Conservatory of Music Orchestra, National Symphony, Aspen Chamber Symphony, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and the Symphony Orchestra of The Curtis Institute of Music.
He has been heard as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony many times, and in May of 2008, premiered a new concerto by composer Alan Fletcher; a concerto commissioned for him by the Pittsburgh Symphony. That performance was recorded and is available on the Exton label.
In 1985, Rusinek was awarded the grand prize in the International Clarinet Society competition, and was a prizewinner in the Belgrade International clarinet competition. He has participated in numerous music festivals around the world, including the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, the Portland Chamber Music Festival, and Music In the Vineyards in Napa Valley. He can also be heard regularly at the Grand Teton, Santa Fe Chamber, and Aspen music festivals. He has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, and toured with the acclaimed “Musicians from Marlboro.” Rusinek was recently featured on the Sony label celebrating Marlboro’s 50th anniversary.
In the summer of 2000, he performed as Principal Clarinet in the Super World Orchestra, an ensemble comprised of musicians from orchestras around the world. Dedicated to teaching, he has led master classes at some of the leading institutions around the country, including The Curtis Institute, the Manhattan School of Music, and the New World Symphony. He served on the faculty of the Canton International Summer Music Academy in Canton, China, for its inaugural season, and returns often to play and teach in Tianjin and Beijing. He has also served on the faculty of Instrumenta Verano in Mexico. He is currently on faculty at the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University. Rusinek is proud of his association with Selmer Clarinets and Rico Reeds. When he is not performing or teaching, you may often find him on the golf course, or playing hockey in a non-contact league.