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.


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 Brigham Young University-Idaho (2009) in Jazz Studies (Piano) with a minor in Russian; and a Master of Music degree from Brigham Young University (2013) in composition, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition at Arizona State University (2017). I worked as a part-time theory/dictation teaching assistant during my graduate studies starting in 2010.

Since fall 2016 I have been living in Kingsville, Texas, where I work as a full-time Music Lecturer at Texas A&M University–Kingsville. 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.