Michael Wheeler, currently the HSO Principal Viola, began his professional career in the New World Symphony (Miami Beach) under the leadership of Michael Tilson Thomas. He was a frequent a participant in the chamber music series as well a section leader there. Following his tenure in New World, Mr. Wheeler returned to New England where he played Assistant Principal Viola in the Portland Symphony (Maine) as well as Associate Concertmaster of the Boston Classical Orchestra. Prior to joining the HSO in 1995-96 season he was a member of the San Antonio Symphony.
Mr. Wheeler has been a recitalist and chamber music player in Florida, Texas, Mexico, Japan, and throughout New England. Becoming something of an instrument collector, he considers himself fortunate to play such violas as a Dominico Rossi made in 1859 as well as instruments by contemporary American makers, David Burgess and Hiroshi Iizuka.
He studied at Indiana University, Juilliard, and the New England Conservatory and lives in West Hartford with his wife, pianist, Ruriko Kagiyama and their three daughters.