Music at Muhlenberg College
The Muhlenberg Music Department has been very pleased to work with Michael Schnack, who joined the full-time faculty in August, 2012. Originally from Iowa, Michael has lived for the past twenty years in Vienna, Austria, where he has been privileged to work in all facets and genres of musical theater and vocal and choral music.
What brought this Midwestern boy to Vienna in the first place? "I took Russian in college and received a fellowship for study in Moscow after graduation. While I was waiting for my visa to clear, I spent two months visiting my twin brother who was studying in Vienna. During that time, I went to the opera almost every night in standing room, which cost about $2 a performance. I saw forty different operas. I fell in love with the city, and moved there after my stay in Moscow."
Michael started working as a vocal coach, then as a ballet and rehearsal accompanist. Before long he was directing musicals, operetta, cabaret and industry shows. He served for sixteen years as artistic director and chief administrator of a successful musical theater training academy, composed four musicals, received prizes for his vocal and choral compositions, sang in and conducted many choirs, and founded a production company specializing in rarities and new works.
So why the change to Muhlenberg? "I've always been an academic at heart. I love languages, libraries, and the 'community of scholars.' And I truly believe in the undergraduate liberal arts experience as fostered in the US. I had considered a return to academia many times over the past years. Three years ago, the time was right for me to start my doctorate. Now I'm excited to mentor new generations at Muhlenberg, and hope my international experience can help broaden the students' horizons even further. I would like to have the choirs collaborate on projects with other departments -- dance, theater, media, art -- and also to start some touring. My dream would be to establish a study abroad program in Vienna."
That sounds great, Michael. Welcome to Muhlenberg, and best of luck to you!