Born in Geneva, Michel Maillard began his musical studies at the Music Conservatory of his native city. He studied percussion in the class of Yves Brustaux, music analysis and piano with Éric Gaudibert, then went on to perfect his skills at the Paris National Conservatory in the class of Jacques Delécluse.
In 1987, he was hired as first percussionist with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and took part in productions by the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and the Ensemble Contrechamps. He takes part in numerous concerts of percussion ensembles within the framework of Eklekto (Geneva International Percussion Centre).
In 1999, he was soloist in the creation of Olivier Rogg's concerto Météorythmes for 5 percussions and string orchestra, a concert given by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Fabio Luisi. He is also soloist in 2008 for the OSR concert in homage to Olivier Messiaen for the 100th anniversary of his birth in Des Canyons aux Étoiles, conducted by Marek Janowski.