Michael Zerang was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is a first-generation American of Assyrian decent. He has been a musician, composer, and producer since 1976, focusing on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms.
As a percussionist, composer and collaborator, Zerang has over one hundred and thirty-five titles in his discography and has toured nationally and internationally to 39 countries since 1981, and works with and ever-widening pool of multi-disciplinary collaborators.
Beginning in 2004, Zerang began to work with musicians and artists living in the Middle East. He traveled to perform, hold workshops, and study, to Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Morocco.
In November, 2007, Zerang played his first concert in Poland. Between 2007 – 2015, he had performed over 100 concerts. Several of these concerts where from existing ensembles that visited Poland, but the majority of the concert were in collaboration with Polish musicians and artists.
Michael founded and was the artistic director of the Link’s Hall Performance Series in Chicago from 1985-1989 where he produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. He was a Board Member of Links Hall from 1989 – 2013. He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and at his own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, from 2001 – 2005.
As a composer, Zerang has collaborated with contemporary theater, dance, and other multidisciplinary forms and has received three Joseph Jefferson Awards for Original Music Composition in Theater, in collaboration with Redmoon Theater, in 1996, 1998, and 2000.
Michael has taught as a guest artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performance technique, sound design, and sound/music as it relates to puppetry; rhythmic analysis for dancers at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, and MoMing Dance and Arts Center; courses in Composer/Choreographer Collaborations at Northwestern University; music to children at The Jane Adams Hull House. He currently holds workshops in improvisational music.