“Ciufo delivered an excellent show…Everything appears to be in place for mainstream success”
-John Terauds (Musical Toronto)
“… A powerful presence…”
– Amazing Canadian Magazine
“Darkly handsome…Ciufo was a fine Prince Charming.”
– La Scena Musicale
Michael Ciufo (choo-foe) is quickly becoming one of Canada’s greatest singing treasures. Acclaimed for his vocal prowess, electric stage presence and ruggedly handsome good-looks, his live performances consistently leave audiences wanting more. He has trained with some of the best in the business throughout his young career, making waves with each performance. His career has explored performances across the globe, including an unforgettable performance at the Pantheon in Rome, Italy (surely a sign of great things to come, as he was still in high school!). It was this performance Michael describes as his “a-ha moment,” when he knew with great certainty his life’s work was in music.
A Canadian-Italian, with an exotic twist of Argentinean, Michael explains, “The name ‘Ciufo’ was originally spelled ‘Ciuffo’ – “which means a forelock of hair” (an interesting point of note given his signature lush, dark locks). His career began at an early age, studying the piano at the age of six. Over the years, he also added guitar, and percussion to his playing skill set. Committed to masterfully developing his talents, he studied at the Glenn Gould School of Music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.
Demonstrating his remarkable versatility, Michael’s expanding repertoire includes timeless gems from Broadway and film with crowd-pleasing current hits, while maintaining the integrity of his classical roots. His ever expanding repertoire includes songs in English, Italian, French, Spanish, and German. In the spring of 2012 Michael introduced a new show, developed under the intense tutelage of Richard Jay-Alexander.
His sophomore album release of Momento (October 18, 2011), debuted at #15 on the Canadian Classical charts. Produced by Chris Bilton, the album includes classical selections, newly written songs and covers and some of Michael’s own songwriting (such as track six, “Indigo Blue”). Timeless classics are a mainstay of Michael’s artistic style and their interpretation is ever-changing, as he continues to grow as an artist. He
combines classical and popular material throughout his shows, highlighting his range as a singer and interpretive artist. Michael’s debut recording, Vieni Sul Mar – A Collection of Italian Songs, was released independently in 2006.
A true family man (and proud “father” to Pug Luciano), courtesy of his Nonna (Italian for Grandma), he even adds knitting to his ever-growing list of skills. His dad is his biggest hero, as Michael shares “He continually teaches me the real value of life and perseverance.” Most of his composing takes place at his parents’ house at their piano. “I try to draw on personal experiences, current situations, or future dreams, regardless of whether it’s an original song or if I’m tackling a cover song. It’s all about making it my own and relatable to me. That’s the only way I believe an audience will believe you,” says Michael. Clean and classic in his performances, he also likes to be different in his everyday life off the stage, experimenting with his style and bright colours (with a special weakness for watches).
Michael’s busy performance schedule includes a newly developed solo show, as well as operatic roles and recital performances. Michael’s versatility has led him to collaborations with a wide range of artists in many genres such as pop, jazz and even hip hop. In recent years, Michael has performed as a lead vocalist in various events:
- “Momento Tour”, which saw Michael and his band perform for sold-out audiences in Southern Ontario including
Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Hamilton, and Timmins.
- Celebrity Symphony Orchestra performance as a featured Tenor soloist (Toronto: 2010 & 2012)
- Headlining a sold-out Mississauga Living Arts Centre performance entitled, “Michael Ciufo in Concert” in June 2009 & January 2011
- “Cantabile: an Evening of Italian Song” with Andrew Burashko and the Art of Time Ensemble at the Enwave Theatre in Toronto (February 2012)
- Guest Performer with Asian pop-star, Manting Chan at the Hong Kong Academy for the performing Arts (Hong Kong; August 2012)
- Performed a solo recital as part of Markham’s “Rising Star” concert series at the Markham Centre for the Performing Arts (2009)
- Debut recital at the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto(2009)
- Headlined Mississauga’s Canada Day Celebrations at Celebration Square (2009)
- In 2008 he performed at Toronto’s Centre Stage Benefit Concert
- Performed twice at Mississauga’s “Knight for Hope” concerts alongside world-renowned Canadian vocalists Michael Burgess and The Nylons.
- Summer of 2008, he was thrilled to return to Europe, invited to perform in a nationally broadcast concert in Pisticci, Italy, in honour of the late Johnny Lombardi (a well-known Canadian pioneer of multicultural broadcasting in Canada).
- He has performed the title role in the concert premiere of Hamlet, a new opera written by Toronto-born composer Mark Richards, both in Toronto and in Stratford, Ontario, for the Stratford Summer Music Soirees
- Multiple appearances headlining at Toronto’s legendary Hugh’s Room
- Has headlined Mississauga’s Carassauga Festival on numerous occasions.
In addition, throughout his career he has appeared in a wide range of opera and oratorio roles:
- “Diego” in the Canadian Premier of Schubert’s “Die Freunde von Salamanka” with Opera in Concert (March 2012)
- Saint–Saëns’ “Christmas Oratorio” with Mississauga Choral Society
- “Alfredo” in the Summer Opera Lyric Theatre’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata (August 2011)
- Handel’s “Messiah” with the Leicester Symphony Orchestra in the UK. (December 2010)
- “Le Prince Charmant” (Prince Charming) for The Glenn Gould School’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon (March 2010)
- Lead role in Handel’s “Joshua” with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto (May 2010)
- Tenor Soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Oakville Masterworks (November 2009)
- “Evangelist” in the Ontario premiere of Ivan Moody’s Passion and Resurrection with the Orpheus Choir (February 2009)
- his first major tenor role as “Il Contino” in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera as part of the Royal Conservatory’s Summer Opera Program (August 2009)
- the Canadian premiere of Respighi’s “The Sleeping Beauty”
- Handel’s “Joshua” with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto
He is continually requested to participate in various opera workshops most recently, selected as the tenor for Pinchas Zukerman and The National Arts Centre’s Summer Music Institute in Ottawa (June 2011 & 2012). From 2007 – 2010, Michael was a Sidgwick Scholar with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto, under choral conductor Robert Cooper.
Giving back is an important part of Michael’s artistic philosophy and he is deeply committed to several charities including the Canadian Cancer
Society; Wellspring, an important support network for cancer patients and their families; and Credit Valley Hospital and Mississauga’s United Way. He is also deeply committed to music education for youth; a direct causal effect as he was exposed to music at a young age and experienced first hand the severe depletion of music, especially in the elementary school system. He welcomes the opportunity to participate in a variety of philanthropic initiatives and will be working with MusiCounts (promoting music for the young and underprivileged) in the near future.
2012 continues to be an exciting time in Michael’s musical journey. He will perform at Welland’s IlluminAqua Festival this August, and has already been invited to return to the region as part of the Niagara Concert Series to kick off the holiday season performing at the Niagara Centre for the Arts (Niagara Falls). This summer he will return to the studio to record his Christmas single for release in early fall. A bit of a jack of all trades, when not on the road performing or in the studio, Michael enjoys cooking, carpentry and fostering an aspiration to visit Antarctica (fueled by his fascination with penguins).