Born in Valence in 1961, Michel Westphal completed his musical studies in Lyon at the Conservatoire Régional under the direction of Ferdinand Sansalone (clarinet soloist of the Orchestre National de Lyon), then at the Conservatoire National de Lyon again, with the French soloist Jacques Lancelot, in whose class he graduated in 1984.
Among all the disciplines taught at the Conservatoire, chamber music is of the utmost importance to him, practised first with his family and then with student friends. In 1982, the Hélios wind quintet, of which he is a member, won First Prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Martigny (Switzerland).
Appointed solo clarinet at the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra in 1984, he was hired the following year, also as solo clarinet, by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, in which he performs the symphonic and lyric repertoires in contact with great conductors such as Armin Jordan, Kurt Sanderling, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Fabio Luisi, Marek Janowski, and now Jonathan Nott...
Not forgetting chamber music, he plays with his colleagues from the OSR as well as with artists from all over the world. He has been a member of ensembles such as the Fidelio wind ensemble or the Barbaroque ensemble (chamber music with barrel organ) .
Taking part in various chamber music festivals, notably the Musikdorf Festival in Ernen, founded by the pianist G.Sebök, he has also performed concertante pieces for clarinet by Mozart, Weber, Debussy or Martin under the direction of Armin Jordan, Otmar Suitner, Horst Stein, Günther Herbig, Paolo Arrivabeni...
He also participates in various recordings (Fidelio and Barbaroque ensembles, Concerto by Frank Martin, etc.) as well as in productions and concerts of the Radio Suisse Romande.
For the past twenty years, he has been performing on period instruments, particularly for the classical period (Mozart, Beethoven,..), and is a lecturer at the Haute École de musique de Genève for the historical clarinet.