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Meet Micah Wright

Today we’d like to introduce you to Micah Wright.

Micah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Hello, my name is Micah Wright. I am a musician based in North Hollywood, and this is my seventh year in Los Angeles. I am a clarinetist, pianist, educator, arranger, and woodwind player. I am originally from West Des Moines, IA and have earned degrees from USC (Doctor of Musical Arts in clarinet performance with minors in piano performance, music theory, and jazz studies), Rice University (Master of Music in clarinet performance), and Drake University (Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance with a minor in saxophone performance).

At age 11, I began playing clarinet and saxophone in the local school band and started taking piano lessons at age 14. I did very well in state and national music competitions and enrolled at Drake University when I was 16 as a music major. Throughout my studies, I was active in a wide variety of musical settings (solo, chamber, orchestra, musicals, jazz bands, arranging) and continued this trend throughout graduate school.

During graduate school, I continued competing as a soloist and chamber musician and placed in a few national and international competitions. I also started teaching regularly, and in 2015 I began teaching private lessons at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. I currently teach at Cal Lutheran and Pierce College and maintain several positions as a clarinetist and collaborative pianist. I perform with a few regional orchestras and play in several chamber groups based in Los Angeles.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Yes, both as a student and as a professional musician I have had to overcome many challenges. I would say that the most difficult time of my career was the transition from being a student to working in the real world. While studying at a conservatory has its difficulties, at least there is a guideline for coursework, i.e. you know exactly what you need to accomplish to get your degree.

Once you graduate there are no more syllabi or multi-year plans laid out for you. You have to make your path and have to earn each opportunity that you get to make music. It took me two to three years to feel secure financially and firmly connected to the musical community of Southern California.

In the past four years since I’ve graduated, I’ve found that my musical journey has stretched my versatility – both as a musician and as a person. I’ve acquired many new skills as a performer and as an educator, in large part due to the inherent challenges of life as a freelance musician.

Please tell us about your work.
What I am known for/what I specialize in might vary depending on who you talk to. I wear many hats, musically speaking, and feel that I bring a high level of artistry and proficiency in each setting. I would say that I am most accomplished and comfortable as a clarinetist in a solo or chamber music setting. I love the artistic freedom that comes with these smaller ensembles, and the versatility of the clarinet. The instrument has a voice in many musical styles (classical, klezmer, jazz, etc.), which makes it unique.

I also do a lot of collaborative piano work and feel just at home in that capacity. In a typical week, I play for several choirs, soloists, and musical theatre companies. I love the colors that you can get from the piano – it is almost like a mini-orchestra at your fingertips. I enjoy the challenges of sight-reading and score-reading and love the idea of providing musical support to other musicians.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My parents have been very supportive from the beginning. They’ve provided me with instruments and lessons and have always gone above and beyond to help me achieve my musical goals. I also owe an immeasurable amount to my instructors and colleagues whom I’ve learned so much from over the years and am still learning from every day.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hannah Wright, Etienne Gara, Espen Aas

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