Misha Kolesoski is the pen name that composer Michael Wheeler goes by. Wheeler has performed on more than 10 independently and commercially released albums in addition to appearing in well over 300 stage performances as a singer, pianist, and keyboardist (ranging from musical theatre to classical, jazz, and electronic music). He also has a diverse YouTube channel which features a plethora of informative and instructional videos; enjoy our interview with Wheeler below!
You are the definition of triple threat (composer, performer, instructor); what led you to begin composing in the first place?
“Wow, thanks so much for the complement. I guess I always loved the idea of the composer-lifestyle, but really it was the notion of being a creative force in the arts.”
How have you been able to earn and sustain a living from your passions? Have your focuses changed or shifted over the years?
“Commissions only pay (a certain amount), but I’m grateful for any work I get. I’ve enjoyed teaching theory and composition and voice lessons but the life of a musician seems to be a poor one.”
What can you tell us about the Phoenix, Arizona music scene? What about the Eugene, Oregon music scene?
“Phoenix is a much more cosmopolitan place than Eugene; it was extraordinary living in a border state and in a place that brought in so many tech workers. On the other hand, we don’t have to fight so hard for the arts in Eugene, so I guess there is good and bad in both places. I’m grateful for the change, it helps us to grow, you know?”
You have an extensive collection of videos posted to your YouTube channel; what has been the biggest advantage of this aspect of your online persona?
“I love YouTube, it’s been a great catalyst for artists getting their stuff out there. The trick is cutting through the noise; haven’t figured that out yet, but I’m having fun trying.”
What can you tell us about the two blogs that you manage (“Pondering Music From a Global Perspective” and “Tools For Learning Music”)?
“It’s awesome that you actually know about my blogs, I think you’re probably like one of the 5 people who have come across them. In all seriousness though, “Pondering Music…” was really a refuse for my old college papers whereas “Tools For Learning Music” was a way for me to communicate with aspiring musicians. There are a lot of resources out there, so I wanted to give a rundown of all the learning products that existed. So far it’s been alright, although we always have to be careful when criticizing anything; it’s very easy to incur the wrath of certain follows. I suppose we should leave that for another conversation though.”
What are your plans for 2014? Do you have any musical goals for the new year?
“Still working on new compositions; I have an opera planned that is based on Japanese Noh, which is pretty exciting as well.”