PROFESSOR OF MUSIC - WRIGHT COLLEGE
Our conductor, Michael Holian, is a seasoned musician with years of experience as a teacher, performer, adjudicator, and as a conductor of both community and professional orchestras.
Michael Holian undoubtedly inherited his love for music from his talented father John, an amateur musician from Ukraine, where Michael was born. While a music career was not an option for him, John Holian was only too happy to provide that for his son, when his gift for music became apparent.
Michael’s violin study began in Mittenwald, Germany at the age of seven, under Wolodymyr Cisyk and continued, after several interruptions and immigration out of post war Germany, with Gaylord Yost, former head of the Pittsburgh Conservatory. After undergraduate studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Michael Holian moved to Chicago, where he completed graduate studies at De Paul University as a student of one of Toscanini’s violists, Harold Newton.
Upon graduation he was offered a music position at Wright College by Charles Schell, head of the Music Department and began a life- long career in higher education. In recognition of his teaching excellence and dedication to his students, he was tenured in 1974 and became full Professor in 1982. For the last sixteen years of his teaching career he served as Department Chair of Music.
As an organic outgrowth of his work at Wright, Michael Holian has been asked to serve as an adjudicator in music contests, conductor at festivals, both locally and abroad, and as an adviser on music matters for local civic, religious and artistic organizations. His own need to be an active performer has found expression as a violist in several strings quartets, the current being the NWCSO String Quartet drawn from the string principals of the Northwest Chicago Symphony now in its 36th season at Wright College with two performances each year. The quartet has given numerous other performances in the Chicago area, many with guest artists from around the US.
In 1980, at the urging of his former students, he founded the Northwest Chicago Symphony, which soon developed it into an organization that provided gifted musicians an avenue for self expression and made Wright College a venue for good classical performances in the Northwest Chicago area. After more than a hundred performances with guest performers from around the globe, the sixty member orchestra continues to evolve as it begins its 37th season.
In December of 2005 The Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the Bach and Beyond Chorus, presented Vivaldi’s “Gloria”. The success of that event provided the impetus for a more extensive project, the performance of Mozart’s “Great Mass” in several venues. As the NWCSO was approaching its 30th anniversary, it again partnered with area choirs to perform Rutter’s “Gloria” in three performances.