Bassist Michael Wais began his formal music education at San Francisco State University where he graduated magna cum laude in 1975 with a Bachelor’s degree in performance on the contrabass. Mr. Wais performed with the Berkeley Promenade Orchestra, Marin Symphony, Oakland Symphony, the California Bach Society and the San Francisco Chamber Players before being engaged by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in 1976. He was awarded a fellowship to the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in 1982 and 1983. 

Mr. Wais has also performed with Orchestra Nova and the San Diego Opera. He has appeared as a soloist with the orchestras of the University of San Diego and San Diego State University. He has enjoyed performing as recitalist with the Hutchins Ensemble as well as with Camarada. 


Q: How did you choose your instrument? 

A: I needed to declare a major instrument in college

Q: What are three of your favorite movies? 

A: Once and Future KingLawrence of ArabiaMaster and Commander

Q: What are your favorite travel destinations? 

A: Salzburg and Vienna

Q: What are some favorite composers? 

A: J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Richard Strauss

Q: What good book have you read lately? 

A: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

Q: What do you love most about San Diego (besides the weather)? 

A: The sea coast, mountains, air quality and not overcrowded. 

Q: Where might you be found on a Saturday night if you’re not performing with the Orchestra? 

A: Practicing or reading. 

Q: The non-musical accomplishment I’m most proud of is…?

A: My children. 

Q: What is your favorite San Diego Symphony Orchestra memory? 

A: The Jacobs’ endowment gift. 

Q: The San Diego Symphony Orchestra is essential to San Diego because…?

A: If a village wants to be a town, it must have an orchestra.