His musical gifts have led him around the world, and now this 1996 Hamilton High School graduate is returning home to perform at the Fitton Center on April 14.
When talking about his story in music, Bryan Wallick begins at home.
“My parents were both musicians, so I was always exposed to a lot of music at home,” he said. “I also had the piano in my bedroom, so when I was 4 years old, I started to figure out some Christmas carols that I was hearing on TV commercials. My parents found a Suzuki piano teacher (a method which specializes in teaching young children) and I began lessons at 4. My punishment was to send me to my room and not allow me to practice the piano.”
After graduating from Hamilton, his path led him to the prestigious Julliard music conservatory in New York.
“There are wonderful teachers there, but even more inspiring is probably the level of students there,” Wallick said. “You see what the best kids in the world can do on their instruments, so you really get a sense of where you are in the bigger picture. Also being in New York City is a wonderful experience, especially as a student.”
His musical tastes are very eclectic, but he performs classical music on the piano.
“I wish there were more hours in the day as I would love to experiment more with Jazz,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of the music now that I always dreamed of playing, and as wonderful as this is, sometimes once you learn a piece, it can kill the feelings you once used to have when you would listen to it as you know every little detail and have worked them all to death (or life rather).
“So I often listen to some great jazz pianists these days as I can just sit back and listen, not worrying about if I should play this piece, or I would rather play this or that phrase like this or that.”
His talent led him to other parts of the world and landed him in his current South African home.
“I met my wife while I was taking part in a big international piano competition here in South Africa,” Wallick said. “I ended up practicing at her mother’s house, which is where we met, and then we quickly realized we were happy together, so she moved up to London where I was living at that time.
“Just before my son was born, we decided to temporarily move back to South Africa to have him there with some family help, and we just realized it was easier for her to be based here with my travelling, and we’ve had a wonderful life with our three children now in South Africa.”
His joy of performing and family is something that Wallick likes to share, and he’s looking forward to coming home to see friends and family.
“It’s always wonderful to come home and play for the hometown. I grew up practicing this piano I will play for this recital, along with Dave Belew’s piano, which I will also practice while I stay with him during this trip, so these trips are always nostalgic as I remember all the wonderful things so many people did for me in Hamilton to help me with my career.,” he said.
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