Mikhail Pokhanovski began his musical studies at the age of 5 with his uncle Lev Zaides. He studied at the Central Music School for Gifted Children in Moscow from 1981 to 1985. He then entered the State Moscow Conservatory, where he studied with Fyodor Druzhinin. He graduated with honours in 1990.
In 1988 Mikhail toured with the first Russian-American orchestra throughout the United States, Soviet Union and Europe. From 1988 to 1990 he was a member of the USSR State Symphony Orchestra under conductor Vassily Sinaisky.
In 1990 Mikhail was accepted to the St. Louis Solisti dal Mondo program under Taras Gabora. From 1992-1997 he was principal violist in the Jeunesse Musicale and the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Montreal under the direction of Alexander Brott. In 1993 Mikhail was a winner of the Debut Series in Montreal and was rewarded with the opportunity to perform in a recital for the CBC.
From 1992 to 1997 Mikhail was a member of the Joachim Quartet which performed numerous concerts and CBC broadcast in Quebec and Ontario. During the same time he played in the Allegra chamber music series with violinists Vladimir Landsmann and Richard Roberts, and violoncellist Marcel St. Cyr.
Since 1997 Mikhail has been Artist-in-Residence at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. He plays frequently in his brother’s international known music series Oleg and Friends, based in Winnipeg. In 2004, Mikhail joined the faculty of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music as a sessional viola instructor.