We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikhail Smigelski and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mikhail, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Both my parents and grandparents were very passionate about music and arts but never pursued them professionally. My grandmother was an amateur musician and when she realized that I am interested in music, she made sure that I have a chance to follow my dreams. I started my musical journey by studying piano and singing in an Orthodox monastery boys’ choir. This activity pretty much predetermined my career choice: I was accepted in the choral program of the Rimsky-Korsakov Music College, and subsequently in the vocal performance program of Saint Petersburg State Conservatory. Although no one can say that an artistic career is the easiest one, I never regret this decision. I guess I am that lucky person who ended up working in the field which he loves and whose job is his hobby.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Although most of my life my main focus was on vocal performance, I was also always interested in other music-related fields: music directing, conducting, piano and guitar performance, and audio recording. I believe this is the key to my success: being a multi-faceted musician. Versatility is incredibly important in the modern world. Currently, I work as an opera soloist, as a concert singer, a music director-pianist for the North-Houston musical theatre company Opera Leggera, a music director at the Woodlands Christian Church, a freelance audio producer, and a music teacher. All these activities constantly keep me on top of my game and always make me excited about the next project.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I think Houston can offer a lot of things to enjoy for anyone: from the Space Center and museums to beautiful parks and great restaurants. My favorite area is the museum district: I love visiting the Museum of Natural Science, especially the planetarium, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts with its huge collection of art from all around the world. I also like Houston’s theatrical scene – especially small companies like Classical Theater Company, A. D. Players, Playhouse 1960, Stageworks Theatre, and others.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many people who have influenced and inspired me during my career. My parents, who gave me their unending support and the best education possible; my teachers and mentors: Prof. Alexander Loginov at the Rimsky-Korsakov Music College and Prof. Evgeniy Fedotov in Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, Prof. Henner Leyhe at the Academy of Music and Dance in Cologne, Germany, Prof. Nikita Storojev at the University of Texas at Austin; my friends-musicians who continue to inspire me by their success; my beautiful wife Shirley who is always there for me when I am happy and when I am sad. No matter how talented you are, no one can make it in life without the support and guidance of people around you.
Other: https://open.spotify.com/album/6pJtCIYgcblxEnRNNJfJXE?si=Sag75KOiRIWw4e4vvlcP_Q&dl_branch=1 https://music.apple.com/us/album/russian-gems/1574531024 https://music.amazon.com/albums/B098BNSYFP?marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER&musicTerritory=US