Misha Segal – Profile
Composer, Arranger, Conductor, Producer, Songwriter, Pianist
Awards + Recognition
- Emmy Award Winner: “Andreas Story” - ABC
- Emmy Award Nomination: “Look Away” - PBS
- Black Reel Nomination: “Mooz-lum”
- Brit Award Winner: Soundtrack for “Phantom of the Opera”
- Israeli Oscar Award Nomination: “For My Father”
- JAZZIZ Critics Choice: Best Music of the Year: “Connected to the Unexpected” - (JVC)
- President Gerald Ford Collaboration: Boy Scouts of America Anniversary Project
- Israeli Grammy Award Winner: “VOICES”
Few individuals can go from writing movie scores and theater music to composing for and conducting symphony orchestras, writing and producing pop songs, playing jazz. Native Israeli Misha Segal does exactly that. He loves the genuine freedom to pursue the music genre of his choice.
Fluent in many musical languages, Misha Segal exemplifies a border-free musician. His ability to infuse different cultural influences and music styles into his work is one reason why he has won major awards in three different continents.
With over 100 feature film scores to his credit, Misha Segal’s contributions to the film world include Berry Gordy’s - The Last Dragon; The Phantom of the Opera, which received wide critical acclaim for its originality, depth and scope and the Brit Award for “Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording”; and the all-time favorite kids’ movie, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, among numerous other domestic and international movies. His small screen work earned him both an Emmy award and an Emmy nomination. Misha also collaborated with Ambassador Abba Eban on a 5 hour series called Israel – A Nation is Born and with President Gerald Ford on a project celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Eagle Scouts of America.
From lyrical solo piano excursions to searing orchestral scores; whether he’s conducting a 90-piece orchestra in Hungary, an 80-piece orchestra in Dublin, or solo-playing his beautiful piano compositions for cancer patients – for Misha it is just another day in the office.
Son of a Russian amateur musician and jazz lover, Misha was exposed to Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman from an early age. His Viennese mother’s love of Johann Strauss and American musical theater (“Annie Get Your Gun” was her favorite) was shared with her son. Growing up he discovered The Beatles and Elton John. Suffice it to say, between his parents and the environment he grew up in, Misha was exposed to every kind of music - Russian, Viennese, Arabic, Israeli, Classical, British Rock ‘n Roll and America’s jazz.
A vanguard in his native Israel, Misha’s jazz, rock, pop, and classical compositions (performed by the Israeli Philharmonic and the Israeli Chamber Ensemble, among others) helped revolutionize the local contemporary music. Misha was constantly searching for new sounds, new horizons and ground-breaking ideas. Considered to be one of the leading cultural influences in Israel, he garnered numerous #1 hits. His interpretation and application of western music influences combined with his unique musical style, Misha is considered among the most important influences in Israeli pop and rock songwriting.
A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Misha initially studied under Israel’s foremost composers—Paul Ben-Haim, Noam Sherrif and Isaac Sadai—as well as film and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. Misha has also studied composition and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and apprenticed under expert and master of 20th century composition techniques composer Dieter Schönbach in Germany. Misha also studied with Leon Kirchner of Harvard University in Cambridge and spent a year on the composition doctoral program at CUNY.
Prior to relocating to Los Angeles, Misha enjoyed a successful career in New York, where he was managed by Miles Davis’s legendary producer Teo Macero. He worked for Columbia Records and RCA. He had the privilege of writing, arranging, orchestrating or producing for such artists as Luther Vandross, Nancy Wilson, Bob James, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Phyllis Hyman and Dave Grusin. After moving to Los Angeles, Misha was commissioned by Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, to compose and write for Motown’s artists and eventually scoring Berry Gordy’s final major film titled “Berry Gordy’s - The Last Dragon.” Misha also composed the love theme song for the movie, which was performed by Smokey Robinson.
As a producer and writer, Misha’s album Don’t Say It’s Over (Warner Brothers) features vocalist Randy Crawford, and was #1 on the New Adult Contemporary (NAC) Charts for 3 weeks. Misha’s own album, Connected to the Unexpected (JVC), was played by the top NAC stations and more than 200 college stations across the country. Far ahead of its time, reviewers praised “Connected” as a “new genre in music.” Misha’s first CD, Zambooka, (Music Masters), features legendary artists Chick Corea, Freddy Hubbard and Mark Isham. It was endorsed by both Quincy Jones and Bob James and hit #1 with the Critic’s Choice Awards in JAZZIZ magazine.
Misha recorded a three CD compilation titled Christmas Healing. This was preceded by another two CD piano compilation, Female. Described by fans as a cross between Chopin’s Nocturnes, Erik Satie and a laid back Keith Jarrett, the collection consists of improvised, original music. Female was the core of Misha’s concert series: “Beauty Found in Unlikely Places.” The inspiration behind this project was Elisabeth Segal (Misha’s mother) and her un-breakable spirit. A Holocaust survivor, she lost a six year battle with lung cancer on Mother’s Day 2001. Misha used the concert series as an opportunity to heighten public knowledge of lung cancer and help inspire and heal those battling the disease. In 2010 Misha released another CD under his own label. This fun project called Highly Classified was with collaboration with sax star ‘Blue’ Lou Marini (SNL, Blues brothers and much more.)