Mike began playing piano in 1975 and had his first professional gig just 4 years later at the age of 11. His first teacher was Sr. Jean Marie Farrell. He then studied classical piano and organ with Mark Ochu and performed in many local recitals. As an adolescent, Mike studied pop and classical organ and piano with Norm Gray and competed successfully in a number of regional organ competitions. A small detour from his musical training began when Mike left high school early to study aerospace engineering at the University of Minnesota, followed by a brief stint as a midshipman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. His musical studies resumed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where his private piano teacher was Ray Santisi (whose former students also include Keith Jarrett and Diana Krall). In the late 80's Mike transferred to the Grove School of Music in Los Angeles to study jazz piano performance and theory with Dick Grove. In the spring of 1989 Mike returned to Minnesota to visit family, but a temporary job that was originally intended to last just a couple weeks mushroomed into a 17-year career in software development at a downtown Minneapolis law firm. Mike attended college at night for several years while working at the firm and completed a degree in philosophy at the University of Minnesota. In 2007, Mike decided to leave the law firm and return his focus to his original passion: music! A connoisseur of fine pianos, Mike's quest to find his 'dream piano'--one that was uniquely suited to capture the 'ideal' piano sound he heard in his mind's ear--took many years and several pianos. Over the years he has owned a Yamaha upright, a Kawai baby grand, a Yamaha grand, and a refurbished Steinway grand. His piano quest culminated in the purchase of a new 9 foot Steinway D concert grand in 2005. Mike spent two days at the Steinway factory in New York playing and evaluating several different concert grands and receiving a personal tour of the Steinway factory before ultimately selecting his dream piano. (Mike, a fan of Woody Allen movies, dubbed his choice piano 'Aphrodite' as in 'My D, Aphrodite'.) Mike's debut album of solo piano music entitled 'Grandcrafted' was released in November 2008. The CD can be purchased at CDBaby and it's also available for digital download on iTunes and the Amazon MP3 store. Mike lives in Winsted, Minnesota with his wife Diana and son Nicholas.
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