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Michael Wheatley

Michael Wheatley
Associate Conductor, AYP

Active as a conductor, violinist, and classical music educator, Maestro Wheatley is the Associate Conductor of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to this position, he served as the Music Director of the Seven Hills Sinfonietta in Cincinnati, OH, and Associate Conductor of the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

As the sixth Music Director of the Seven Hills Sinfonietta (Cincinnati, Ohio), Maestro Wheatley established a reputation as a builder of orchestras and audiences. Under his leadership the orchestra nearly doubled in size, relocated to an expansive new concert venue, formed significant new relationships with grant-giving organizations, greatly expanded its orchestral library, and was featured in a film for the Sundance Channel. For six unprecedented seasons, he led the orchestra to perform ever more substantial and challenging works of the orchestral repertoire.

In 2007 he was the only American conductor to be invited by Maestro Vassily Sinaisky as part of a program to study Russian performance practice with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, focusing on the symphonies of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky. Following this work, Mr. Wheatley assisted Maestro Sinaisky in his guest performances with the BBC Philharmonic. In 2010, he became Associate Conductor of the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra. And in 2013, he was featured in an exhibition of up-and-coming professional conductors at the Eastman School of Music, which lead to a guest conducting engagement with the Rochester Philharmonic.

He has been a guest conductor on three continents, most recently in Poland, Russia and Ukraine, and in the USA with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Southern Illinois Music Festival, and the Cincinnati Chamber Opera. This year he will make conducting debuts in South America. Passionate and dedicated to teaching young orchestral players, he has led the student orchestras of Southern Illinois University, the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Southeast Missouri State University, Northern Kentucky University, the Pierre Monteux School Festival Orchestra, the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony (St. Petersburg, Russia), and the American Youth Philharmonic (Washington, DC).

Maestro Wheatley’s conducting teachers have included Christopher Zimmerman, Vassily Sinaisky, Gustav Meier, Neil Varon, Edward Benyas, and Gerhard Samuel.  He is an alumnus of the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Hancock, Maine, Peter the Great Music Academy, in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He has collaborated with scores of professional artists, including soprano Barbara Paver, tenor Thomas Baresel, violinist and pedagogue Kurt Sassmannshaus, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra David Kim, cellist William Grubb, clarinetist Eric Mandat, and composers Michael Torke, John Adams, Ned Rorem, and Jennifer Higdon.

Before becoming a conductor, Mr. Wheatley performed widely as a violinist. He has appeared with the symphonies of Cincinnati and Dayton in Ohio, Paducah in Kentucky, and as a member of the award winning Ensemble for 18th Century Music under the direction of the acclaimed harpsichordist and scholar of eighteenth-century performance practice, Eiji Hashimoto. As a chamber musician he has collaborated with members of the Grammy-winning LaSalle and Tokyo String Quartets. He has recorded, as violinist, on the Centaur and Claremont record labels.