Michael Stirling studied cello at the Guildhall School of Music with Leonard Stehn and Raphael Wallfisch. He continued his studies at the Banff Centre, Canada and with Lawrence Lesser at the New England Conservatory in Boston, USA. From 1989 to 1997 Michael was the cellist of the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Germany. He was also a member of the Raphael Ensemble (string sextet, London) for eight years, which recorded many CDs for Hyperion. In 1997 he joined the Brindisi Quartet in London where he lived and worked for nine years. During this period he played as guest principal cellist with many chamber music groups and various orchestras including: The Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and The Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Michael moved to Amsterdam in 2004 and became first principal cellist of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the Netherlands in the same year. He was a regular guest of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for many years. Michael is also a member of Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, The Quimias string Trio and plays a great deal of chamber music in general. He recorded the cello concerto by Hindemith (Kammermusik no. 3) for RCA with Marcus Stenz and the Ensemble Modern which won the German Critic's Prize.
Michael Stirling has been a principal subject teacher of cello at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam since September 2014.