Mick Wetzel

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Mick Wetzel, a violist, is a native of Almira, Washington. He studied at Indiana University and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan. His teachers have included Paul Coletti, Roland Vamos, Emmanuel Vardi, Donald McInnes, Camilla Wicks, and Tadeusz Wronski. He joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the start of the 1994/95 season. His orchestral experience includes the Spokane Symphony, principal viola of the Ann Arbor Chamber and Sacramento Symphony Orchestras, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and – for the six years prior to joining the Philharmonic – the San Francisco Symphony. He has performed as soloist with various local orchestras. His awards include the W. E. Hill & Sons Award at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition.

Wetzel has worked as a chamber music coach at the USC Thornton School of Music and taught viola performance on the faculty of UCLA. He currently teaches viola performance at California State University Fullerton. He is a regular performer on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Chamber Music series and has also performed with various ensembles at the Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella concerts. Wetzel is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He left Indiana University to accept a mission call to France.

“If you take two years off in your late teens or early 20s, you lose much of the physical development that’s required as you’re learning the violin,” he said. “Everybody in my life was saying, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it.’”
But Mick knew the Lord wanted him to do it. “I got such a strong and clear answer that I needed to go on a mission.”
Missionary work in France was difficult and he rarely picked up a violin. “But I loved every minute of it,” he said. “It was life changing for me.”[1]

After his mission, Mick traveled to Seattle to study for a brief period with the same woman who was Stacy Phelps’ violin mentor. The two became friends and eventually married. They are the parents of three children. They have performed together in the string section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for over thirty years.