Michael De Geest was born in 1982 in Eeklo. He is the son of Edward De Geest, honorary organist of Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent. In his native town, Michael completed the Sciences and Mathematics course at St Vincent’s College and obtained the final certificate for organ and piano at the Municipal Academy for Music and Word (in the piano class of his mother Monique Lanszweert and in the organ class of Dirk Bruggeman). He also received the Special Prize and the Certificate of the City of Eeklo for both disciplines. In his youth Michael was a choir member of the Schola Cantorum of Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent.
It was his interest in mathematics and computer science that drove him to the University of Ghent, where he graduated in 2004 as Master of Science in Computer Science. In between his professional computer work, Michael studied organ with Ignace Michiels at the Ghent Conservatory. Some of his inspiring teachers were Daniel Gistelinck (harmony and counterpoint), Marc Michael De Smet (choir and chamber music) and Hans Lamal (improvisation).
Michael specialised in Baroque organ music with the Liège organist Serge Schoonbroodt. He followed master classes in organ with Helga Schauerte in Eckenhagen (Germany) and with baroque specialist Liuwe Tamminga in Urbino (Italy) during the ‘Musica Antica’ festival. Michael was also organist of St James’ Church in Ghent for more than ten years.
Michael has already given recitals in Germany, the Netherlands, France, England, Denmark, Hungary and Japan. In chamber music, Michael plays together with the oboist Dagmar Robben, who is also his wife. He is also a member of the ensemble Fuga Temporis.
In January 2010, Michael was appointed organist of Saint Nicholas Church in Ghent, where, since 2011, he has also been responsible for organising thematic organ concerts, including homages to various baroque composers. From this impressive church with its magnificent baroque Flentrop organ, Michael continues to apply himself to baroque music, with a big heart for the organ works of composers such as Buxtehude, Böhm, Frescobaldi, Couperin and, of course, Bach.
He was recently appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ghentian Organ Center, a non-profit organisation responsible for organising the annual organ concerts in July and August at Saint Bavo cathedral Ghent.
Michael is chairman of the symphonic orchestra ‘Lumen Symphonicum’, which was founded in 2015 and is conducted by his brother David. This orchestra mainly performs Viennese Classical works. Lumen Symphonicum has already performed several symphonies and concertos by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, in collaboration with international soloists such as Daniel Blumenthal, Charles Neidich, Karl Leister and Eddy Vanoosthuyse. Last year, Lumen Symphonicum programmed selections from famous Mozart operas such as ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ and ‘Die Zauberflöte’ at concerts in Brussels and Eeklo.
On 26 August 2021, Lumen Symphonicum will perform organ concertos by Haydn, Guilmant and Verschraegen in the Saint Bavo cathedral in Ghent, in collaboration with organists Frank Heye, Michael De Geest and Laure Dermaut. Michael will perform the First Concerto for organ and orchestra by Joseph Haydn, accompanied by Lumen Symphonicum conducted by David De Geest.