Pipe Major Michel d'Avenas is a classically trained musician and award-winning professional piper with 46 years performance and instructional experience. He is the Pipe Major of the Monterey Bay Pipe Band and the leading bagpipe instructor in Monterey County. He is also a piping competition judge at Scottish Festivals and other events. Michel is the founder of the Monterey Celtic Arts Academy and The Monterey Bay School of Piping and Drumming.
Michel plays a classic set of Great Highland bagpipes. Mounted in ivory with engraved silver and African Blackwood drones, they were manufactured by William Sinclair & Sons of Edinburgh, Scotland. Michel is often seen at sunset playing the pipes at the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach.
A Monterey County native, Michel's family came from both Great Britain and France, and he has a musical heritage that extends through many generations. After graduating from Robert Louis Stevenson School, he served in the U.S. Army Military Police during the Vietnam War era as part of the European Command Honor Guard. He then attended U.C. Berkeley where he studied music theory and composition. Michel studied piping with internationally renowned, championship bagpipe players and instructors, including: Seumas MacNeil, Ian MacFadyen, John Burgess, Archie Cairns, Jimmy MacColl, and Jack Lee. Michel owned and operated a very successful restaurant in Carmel for many years, and is also a real estate broker.