Born in Vienna, Austria, Michael Ma was accepted to the Curtis Institute at age 12, study under Ivan Galamian, and later study with Jascha Brodsky, first violinist of the Curtis String Quartet, in the New School of Music, Philadelphia. Upon graduating, he began performing with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia and founded the New Art String Quartet which toured throughout Europe, the United States and the Middle East. He is also a founding member of the Hong Kong Virtuosi. He has appeared frequently as soloist. He had solo performances with New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, orchestra re-mix from Singapore, and held the position of concertmaster with many orchestras including the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra.
Before his appointment as the Head of Strings at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts since 1996, he was also Professor of Violin at the University of Oklahoma.
He has been invited to serve as jury at various prestige competitions, such as Tchaikovsky Violin Competition, Sarasate Competition, Menuhin Violin Competition, Isang Yun Competition, ARD International Music Competition, Hong Kong International Violin Competition.