The Israeli-born American pianist and teacher, Michaela Harel, is the daughter of Laura Harel, a French teacher, and the late Dr. Aron Harel, a psychiatrist. She was born in Tel Aviv, but spent a good deal of her childhood in New York. As a child, she was featured in a documentary entitled The Piano Moves, which depicted the transport of a piano from an apartment on the 12th floor of a building. Harel studied at Juilliard and also did a stint as a dancer at the School of American Ballet, and the New York City Ballet under George Balanchine. She graduated from Yale University, and earned her master's degree from University of Southern California (USC).
Michaela Harel's repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the late Romantic and modern eras, including J.S. Bach, Scriabin, Dmitri Shostakovich, Ravel, Edward Elgar, and Robert Schumann. Her debut solo recital at the Weill Recital Hall in New York, the program of which included J. Haydnís Sonata in G minor, Hob. XVI/ 44; Johannes Brahms' Klavierstucke, Op. 119; Robert Schumann's Sonata No. 2; Dmitri Shostakovichís Preludes and Fugues No. 7 and No. 24; and Ravel's Sonatine, was praised by Allan Kozinn of The New York Times as "striking on several counts, among them the pianist's impeccable sense of style and the technical and interpretive control she exerted over the six works she played." Harel has given numerous recital since and recorded a pair of CDís. She is now based in New York City. In June 1991 she married Douglas Bruce McLagan, a record producer.