Michael Kugel was born in the USSR. He studied violin at the Beethoven School of Music and at the Music College in Kharkov, later he studied viola, composition and conducting at the Leningrad (St-Petersburg) Conservatory.
In 1975 he won First Prize ahhead of Yuuri Bashmet at the International Viola Competition in Budapest. In the USSR he was the soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Organisation Mosconcert, violist of the Beethoven State Quartet and professor at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. From 1990 till 1996 Michael Kugel was a professor at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance.
In 1996 he settled in Belgium and now he is a professor at the Ghent Royal Conservatory (Belgium) and at the Maastricht Royal Conservatory (Holland). Michael Kugel appeared as a soloist with many major symphony orchestras in thye world and also appeared as a conductor with many orchestras.
He has taken part in Festivals in Schlezwig-Holstein, Lockenhause, Lille, Rolandseck, Passau, Jerusalem, Rizor, Orebro, Krems, Divonn, Menton, Mürzzuschlag, Venezia, Festival van Vlaanderen, Dubrovnik, Cincinnati etc. and was a member of jury for International competitions in England, Austria, Israel, USA, Croatia, Belgium ans CIS.
He has recorded about 20 discs and also made numerous records as a viola d'amore player as well.
Michael Kugel has enriched the viola repertoire with many transcriptions and with his own compositions : Sonata-Poem for viola solo, Concerto for viola and orchestra, Suite in memoriam Shostakovich for viola and piano, sonatas etc. His compositions also include a piano sonata, chamber symphony and chamber music among others.
Michael Kugel has given masterclasses in Germany, England, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Finland, Mexico, Israel, France, Belgium, Croatia, CIS, Holland, Canada etc. He is the author of two the two books : Viola sonata by Shostakovich and The viola Concerto by Bartók - The history of an era and the Masterpieces of the instrumental music.
Michael Kugel is the founder and the President of th Belgian Viola Society.
Michael Kugel has given masterclasses in Germany, England, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Finland, Mexico, Israel, Canada, France, CIS, Holland etc. He is the author of two the two books : Viola sonata by Shostakovich and The viola Concerto by Bartók - The history of an era and the Masterpieces of the instrumental music.
He is without doubt one of the great string virtuosos of this century. (The Strad, December 1998)
Michael Kugel is one of the select generation of exceptional of viola virtuosos (...). His tone was remarkably supple and in both hands he possess the sort of virtuosity associated with names like Heifetz and Kogan rather than with viola players. (The Strad, June 1995)
Rien qu'à la lecture de son programme, on comprend pourquoi il a été qualifié 'd'un des plus grands virtuoses des instruments à cordes de notre siècle (...) Malgré sa très grande virtuosité, Kugel s'intéresse moins à la technique qu'à l'analyse et à l'interprétation. (Bulletin de l'Association internationale de l'altiste et amis de l'alto (December 1998, Paris)
Mr. Kugel is a Russian viola virtuoso living now in Belgium whose mastery of viola is astonishing. He does technical things with a seeming ease that most players would be hard put to imagine (...) Yet he is a very tasteful musician, capable of great subtlery ans sensitivity. (Journal of the American viola society, November 1999)
Du musst es gesehen haben, um es zu glauben (Die Viola, 2000/1)
Kugel's playing is truly amazing. (Journal of the Ameriican Viola Society, 1999/2)
Michael Kugel is a Russian-born virtuoso who, apart from his facility on the viola, presents a deeply musical as well as intellectual style of playing that one rarely hears today. (Journal of the Canadian Viola Society)