OKAY, SO...WHAT DOES THE R. STAND FOR?
R. is for Robert, but my dad is Robert and so I've always been Michael except on paperwork. Can't have the folks on ratemyprofessor.com confusing me with my chili pepper-rated father! I'm R. Michael Wahlquist to avoid online confusion with a Mike Wahlquist who works for the postal service, and honestly just because it looks grand on a musical score.
INFLUENCES AND BACKGROUND—I.E. GOD (AND THE INTERNET) MADE ME
Raised in rural towns in the Mountain West, I was exposed to two of my most important influences—modern music and Slavic culture—only thanks to the advent of home Internet. Online I found inspirations and influences that would have been much less open to the small-town kid of any other era—Slavic music and culture, avant-garde classical music, obscure science fiction, eclectic modern visual art and guilty-pleasure indie hipster music.
As an active Christian and Latter-day Saint, my idiosyncratic music is infused with a vibrant spirituality particularly notable in a growing body of hymn tunes (40+) and in the titles and inspirations for many of my instrumental works.
My late grandpa Charles P. Wahlquist once told me that if I wanted to really make a difference, I should be a teacher. I realized that to be the composer and teacher I want to be, I would need to get all the education I could. Education has been an important priority me—I earned a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree from BYU-Idaho (2009) in Jazz Studies (Piano) with a minor in Russian; and a Master of Music degree from BYU (2013) in composition.
I currently live in Mesa, Arizona where I am earning a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition at Arizona State University. I have worked as a theory/dictation teaching assistant since 2010. My angel wife Qait (her way of spelling Kate) is a professional harpist. Together we have three children—Ender, Scarlett and Nikolas. It's not hyperbole to say that the greatest joy I know in life is in these family ties!
I have continued to study music and Russian culture in college. From 2004-2006 I served as an LDS missionary in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission, including time in the cities of St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Petrozavodsk and Pskov. I'm fluent in Russian as a second language. My professional ties and involvement in Russian culture were strengthened by the recent Karelian Soundscapes project and ongoing research into Russian composers and musical traditions.