An avid pianist since the age of 4, Mike has immersed himself into his music. As a sophomore in high school he began his piano performance and pedagogy studies at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, starting as a piano student with Chiu Ling Lin. Upon receiving his Bachelor of Music degree from Drake, his passion led him forward to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, to learn from some of the finest musicians in the world, including Veronica Jochum, daughter of eminent German conductor Eugen Jochum, 20th century piano with Stephen Drury, microtonal composition with Joseph Maneri and performing for and with the pioneer in aleatoric music, John Cage. Aleatoric music entails musical compositions that allow some element of chance in the performance to the determination of the performer. It is here he received his Master of Music degree.
From Boston Mike moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and taught private and class piano, improvisation, and M.I.D.I.. He had the privilege of teaching at the summer piano institute at University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota for several years. His musical and career focus took a turn to the church and he has spent the past two decades serving in churches as pastoral minister.
Since moving to Wausau he has been an adjudicator for Solo and Ensemble as well as Concert Ensemble Festivals around the state. He also assisted music programs at Wausau West, John Muir, and Wausau East. He has been the musical director for the annual Pop Concert, served as trumpet section coach, worked with the rhythm section and jazz band, and have written a significant number of orchestrated arrangements for Wausau West’s annual Bandstock concert.
Mike has three musical children. Geoffrey, Amanda and Lucas who are all musicians. All three have been or are music majors at University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. As a family, they often perform together in churches and community events and in Fischer Family Jazz.
Degrees, Awards and Memberships
Master of Music in Piano Performance – New England Conservatory of Music
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy – Drake University
Music Teachers National Association
Wisconsin Music Educators Association
River Valley Jazz Society