Michael Kollwitz and his family traded a Brooklyn, NY, brownstone apartment for sunny southern California at five years old. He was interested in music as a child and played the trumpet for ten years in school bands. Fresh out of high school, in 1976, Kollwitz met inventor Emmett Chapman who introduced him to the innovative new stringed instrument that Chapman called ‘The Stick.’ Intrigued by The Stick’s possibilities, he became one of Chapman’s first proteges and lifelong friends.
During the 80s and 90s, alongside his music, Kollwitz had a career in the communications industry as a salesperson. He trained with a mentor and eventually broke sales records with several companies. Due to a downturn in the telecom sector, he went full-time with his music in 2003. Without a label, agent, or manager, he self-booked hundreds of corporate events, festivals, fairs and weddings. Over the next twenty years, he amassed over thirty independent releases, making him one of The Stick’s strongest advocates and most prolific recording artists.
Breaking new ground with a trilogy of peaceful Serenity albums beginning in 2017, he gained listeners worldwide and made the Billboard charts. His soothing compositions can be heard daily on airlines, in spas, and in 1200 hospitals worldwide on the CARE Channel. In 2023, he published the book, Stick With It- Adventures of a Chapman Stick Player to chronicle the early years of The Stick and his lifelong friendship with the late Emmett Chapman.
A winner of multiple arts grants that helped expand his career, Kollwitz became a keynote speaker- blending music and humor to share his message of tapping into personal creativity and achieving one’s dreams through persistence. He is an active member of the National Speaker Association, a private pilot, and an amateur radio operator. A husband and father of two, he resides in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona.
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS:
2017- NOMINATED ‘Serenity’- Best Acoustic Instrumental Album- One World Radio- UK
2018- NOMINATED “Mystic Vista”- Best New Age Song- Hollywood Music In Media Awards
2018- NOMINATED ‘Serenity II’ Best New Age Album- Independent Music Awards
2018- NOMINATED ‘Serenity II’ Best Acoustic Instrumental Album- Zone Music Reporter
2018- NOMINATED ‘Wrapped In Love’ Best New Age Song- Global Peace Song Awards
2018- BILLBOARD ‘Serenity II’ debuts at #8 on the Billboard New Age chart
2018- Aural Awakenings names ‘Serenity II’ as one of the top 25 albums of the year
2018- New Age CD names ‘Serenity II’ as one of the top 3 albums of the year
2018- WINNER ‘Serenity II’ wins Silver Medal- Global Music Awards
2019- BILLBOARD ‘Serenity III’ charts at #2 and #3 on the Billboard New Age chart
2019- NOMINATED ‘Playful Curiosity’- Best New Age Song- Hollywood Music In Media
2019- WINNER ‘Serenity III’ wins Silver Medal- Global Music Awards
2019- WINNER ‘Santa Plays The Stick’- Best Holiday Album of 2019- Zone Music Reporter
2019- WINNER ‘Santa Plays The Stick’ wins Silver Medal- Global Music Awards
2019- BILLBOARD ‘Santa Plays The Stick’ debuts at #4 on the Billboard New Age chart
2020- WINNER ‘In The Moonlight’ wins Silver Medal- Global Music Awards
2020- WINNER Artist Opportunity Grant from Arizona Commission on the Arts
2021- NOMINATED ‘Calm Waters’- Best Acoustic Instrumental Album- One World Radio- UK
2021- WINNER ‘Calm Waters’ wins Bronze Medal- Global Music Awards
2022- WINNER Artist Opportunity Grant from Arizona Commission on the Arts
2022- WINNER Presentation Mastery Completion Award- Toastmasters International
2023- WINNER Research and Development Grant from Arizona Commission on the Arts
2023- WINNER Bill Desmond Writing Award for Excelling Non-Fiction Authors