Current Student - Bryan Banowetz '17

Bryan Banowetz

Majors: Music and English

Why did you choose to study music?

Music was always the one thing that made sense to me throughout my childhood, so I knew I wanted to pursue it professionally. I started playing piano at the age of seven. I had a lot of great opportunities with music in high school, and wanted to continue that trend in the real world, but I needed a place to explore my abilities as a musician and learn how to hone my craft. Music is one of those things where you never really reach the end goal; you’re always striving for your best, which changes constantly (hopefully positively). Better yet, you get to share that journey with others.

How do you think Luther’s music program stands out among others?

Luther offers a music program that I would compare to many larger universities and conservatories, but there are so many more opportunities. I remember visiting several large university music schools and most of the opportunities were given to graduate students. At Luther, I’ve been able to accompany opera scenes, recitals, operas, and perform as a soloist with the orchestra, in addition to many others. These are the types of experiences that make me a better musician, which is what I am here to do.

Describe the music faculty.

The music faculty have given me fabulous opportunities at Luther. As an accompanist, I work with many of them and it is always inspiring to see them there for the students constantly. They not only care for you as a musician, but also as a student and human being. They have all been in our position as students and offer incredible insight. Many of them are still active performers and I’m daily in awe of the artistry that they display in the many faculty recitals and other performances during the year.

Has the program challenged you?

I’ve been immensely challenged as a musician. In the past three years, I’ve been introduced to so much different repertoire (as well as more difficult). At times it’s been challenging to step up to the plate, but I’ve had some great teachers along the way to help me. I’ve had to learn how to practice efficiently and how to come to a deeper understanding of my repertoire, which has been made easier with the various music classes I’ve taken.

What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

I’m planning to pursue a collaborative piano degree in graduate school. I’m also majoring in English at Luther, so the ability to work with material that includes poetry as the text fits in quite nicely with the word-nerd in me. I also love languages, and have studied several, so I definitely think this is my place. Ultimately, I would like to end up as a vocal coach or a professional collaborative pianist (or both).

Have you studied abroad?

I studied in Vienna, Austria, last semester. It was, without a doubt, the most formative of my experiences in life thus far. I learned a lot about myself, as I was wholly independent and had to meet completely new people (some of whom became very close friends), learn a new language, and fit inside a new culture. Beyond regular academic classes, I was able to study piano (and even give a recital) and collaborate with other musicians in my program. It’s difficult to put into words exactly what this experience meant to me, because it really transcends that. But I will say this: The world is a big place, but it’s also one of the smallest.

What is one class that you would recommend all students take, regardless of major?       

The class that affected me the most was Living Religions. After 13 years of Catholic school education, this was the first class that allowed me to look in-depth at non-Judeo-Christian religions, as well as put them in dialogue with each other. I also was able to talk with other students and discover their questions about religion and what their backgrounds were. This was very powerful for me, because it expanded my horizons and made me think critically about my beliefs on religion.

“I’m a member of Luther’s improv troupe, Top Banana. It’s my oasis during the week to release stress and laugh.”

—Bryan Banowetz

Why He Chose a Liberal Arts Education

I think it’s terrific that I get to study both English and music, two of my passions. Educating the whole person is important for me as well. Life is full of diversity and the liberal arts allows for a deeper exploration of that.

—Bryan Banowetz