Michael Holmes' career has encompassed a wide spectrum of musical pursuits, including the fields of historical performance, scholarly research, symphonic conducting, and composing/arranging. He serves as music director of the Orchestra of the 17th Century in Washington DC, artistic director of the Concerto Capitolano (one of the USA's premiere period brass ensembles), and formerly as director of the University of Maryland Collegium Musicum. He has also performed on an array of period instruments with ensembles such as Stylus Luxurians, Washington Bach Consort, Opera Lafayette, Opera Vivente, Harmonious Blacksmith, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Artek, and Piffaro.
Holmes has performed extensively as a conductor in Europe, leading symphonic, opera, and historical performances in Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, and Bulgaria. His conducting teachers have included Jorma Panula, Neeme Järvi, Otakar Trhlík, František Vajnar, and Georg Tintner. As a Fulbright student in Musicology at the University of Helsinki, he undertook extensive research on Nordic music in Finland, specializing in the music of Sibelius, and sang on three tours with the premiere Finnish male voice choir Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat (including concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center), and was present during their recording of the Sibelius complete works for male voice choir on the Finlandia label. In December 2007, Holmes traveled to China to sing with a small group of professional American singers to take part in the premiere of Ye Xiaogang's Song of Peace, an oratorio written for the seventieth anniversary of the Nanjing holocaust in 1937. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory Composition from James Madison University an Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Musicology at the University of Maryland, College Park.