Can you imagine being in class with teenagers at the age of four? Dr. Washington Garcia can. The Ecuador native is often called a child prodigy due to his early mastery of the piano. Now, he’s the director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha school of music. But he’s more than that: he’s also unwaveringly determined, focused, and grateful.
We talked recently about what he’s learned about mentorship, meaning, and making a difference throughout his incredible musical journey.
I often talk about the importance of a personal board of directors, and Dr. Garcia’s passion and talent helped him build one almost from day one. He’s had many mentors, he says, but one piece of wisdom stays with him today.
Meaning in mentorship
As a student, an administrator became a second father to him. What did he ask for in return? “Do the same for somebody else.” Garcia took that advice to heart, and it formed part of his mission today.
The difference between positive, giving people like that and negative people can be the difference between success and failure. Surround yourself with positivity and encouragement to make the path to success a lot less bumpy.
Part of why Garcia is so successful is likely because he sees the deeper meaning in what he does.
“ Music is a very powerful force. It has the power to change the lives of people… shape our society… it unites us… Music has a healing power. ”
With that kind of motivation in mind, it’s no wonder he’s touched so many with his music.
To experience Dr. Garcia’s energy and passion firsthand, have a listen to our full interview.
What words of wisdom have stuck with you through your life? Tell me about the words that have resonated with you in the comments.
Ecuadorian-American pianist Washington Garcia began his musical studies at the age of 6. Dr. Garcia holds a bachelor of music from the National Conservatory of Music in Ecuador, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated at the age of 25 as the youngest Latin American to have received a doctoral degree in piano performance from that prestigious university. He was awarded first prizes at the Guillermo Wright-Vallarino National Piano Competition held in Quito, the Elizabeth Davis Memorial Piano Competition and the 19th International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington D.C., the 2004 Baltimore Music Club Piano Competition, and the Harrison Winter Piano Competition, among others.
Since his debut with the Ecuadorian National Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15, he has been an active recitalist and soloist in prestigious venues in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Israel, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Japan, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States.
Dr. Garcia served on the faculty of the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University and is a faculty member at the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Tuscany, Italy and the Peabody Piano Festival in Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently the Director of the School of Music at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he is also a Professor of Piano. Previous to his appointment at UNO, Dr. Garcia was a Professor of Piano at Texas State University, where he was also the Assistant Director of the School of Music.
Washington Garcia became a Steinway Artist in 2014.