Michele Vannelli trained with Francesco Tasini, under whose guidance he obtained the diploma in organ and organ composition at the “G. Frescobaldi” Conservatoire in Ferrara. Following that, he attained the diploma in harpsichord and in vocal composition and choir conducting studying with Marina Scaioli and Maria Elena Mazzella. He achieved a first-class degree in D.A.M.S at the University of Bologna, writing a thesis on Storia della Musica II – ‘600 & ‘700 (La Messa a 12 (1687) di Giacomo Antonio Perti. Storia, fonti, analisi ed edizione History of Music II – 1600s & 1700s The 12-part Mass (1687) by Giacomo Antonio Perti. History, sources, analysis and edition). In the same university he carried out and achieved a research doctorate in Musicology with a dissertation on I tre libri di salmi vespertini a otto voci (opp. I, VII & XI) di Giovanni Paolo Colonna (The three books of eight-part Vesper psalms, opp. I, VII & XI, by Giovanni Paolo Colonna).
From 2006 he has been Maestro di Cappella of the Basilica di San Petronio, a post to which he was appointed following four years as choir conductor in the Basilica. Moreover, he is the organist of San Pietro, the City Cathedral and of the Basilica di Santo Stefano.
He is the founder and director of the Ensemble D.S.G, a vocal and instrumental group engaged in the rediscovery, the study and the performance of the musical heritage of the seventeenth century in Italy, with special attention given to vocal music from the region of Emilia.
He carries out a full concert programme as conductor, choir master, organist and harpsichordist, working with ensembles specialising in the performance of sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century works (A Sei Voci / Bernard Fabre-Garrus; Ensemble Concerto / Roberto Gini) and taking part in important Italian and European shows and festivals (Musica insieme, Bologna; Organi Antichi, Bologna; Angelica, Bologna; Centro della Voce, Bologna; Notti malatestiane, Rimini; Festival lodoviciano, Viadana; Accademia Virgiliana, Mantova; Trento Musica Antica; Festival de Sablé-sur-Sarthe; Scènes de Pays dans les Mauges; Festival de La Chaise Dieu).
He has written numerous compositions for voice, among which are masses, psalms, Te Deums, antiphonies and motets. He has made hundreds of transcriptions and critical editions of scores (the first volume of the Cantate con strumenti by Bononcini is published by LIM) and he has published articles on musicology.
He has recorded for Clavis (Cantate di Caldara), Dynamic (Messa a 12 di Perti and Laudate Dominum a tre cori by Colonna, Missa “In illo tempore” and Vespro della Beata Vergine by Monteverdi), Studio SM (Requiem by Cazzati) and Tactus (Missa «Exaudi me Domine» by Cortellini). Soon to be published is the Messa a 9 voci concertata by Colonna and a collection of chamber cantatas by Giacomo Antonio Perti.
He teaches choral music and choir conducting in the “B. Maderna” Conservatoire in Cesena and theory of harmony & analysis, Gregorian chant and tuning in the “G. B. Martini” Conservatoire in Bologna.
In 2016, Pope Francis awarded him the Pontificate medal as part of the Premio delle Pontificie Accademie.