Award-winning professional pianist performs in recital at Smith Hall


Aaron Dickens

Antonia Galera is a Spanish professional pianist as well as a Joan C. Edwards Distinguished Professor in the Arts.

Those in attendance at Smith Hall Monday evening were treated to a musical performance by an award-winning professional pianist.

The piano recital was led by Antonio Galera, a professional artist who has performed around the world in places such as France, Belgium, Greece and South Africa. 

“One of the things I love about music is that I get to travel the world,” Galera said.  “I get to see so many different cultures, meet people from all over the world.  It’s very enriching for my life. Regardless, music would have always been in my life even if it wasn’t my job.”

Galera said his passion for music began in his early years, and he performed his first recital when he was a teenager. 

“My passion for music came naturally,” Galera said. “My family is a musical environment. Then I decided one day to make this my full-time job. My first solo recital was when I was 16 years old.”

Since then, Galera’s passion has led him to winning prizes such as the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Award and to major performances such as his recital at the Madrid National Auditorium.

These performances convinced Henning Vauth, an associate professor at Marshall University, to invite Galera to perform for a crowd in Smith Hall.

“I’ve known Galera for a very long time,” Vauth said. “We studied at the same time in Paris, France at a private music conservatory called the Ecole Normale.”

Galera played songs such as “Voiles,” “The Sunken Cathedral” and songs from Mozart.

“This is all repertoire that I love. I cannot choose any of these songs as my favorite. I love playing all of them,” Galera said.

As Galera played his pieces, his ability to play at an intense level with ease shocked some members of the audience, including William Grimes.

“I cannot believe he can hold that much stuff in his head, and it comes out through his fingers,” Grimes said. “It’s an amazing artistic triumph to be able to do that.”

The piano recital was followed by a piano duet from Galera and Vauth.

Janette Grimes, another audience member, said she knew Vauth because he is the choir director at her church.

“It was just marvelous to see,” she said. “We were just tickled to death to see him perform tonight.”

Galera said musicians need to keep playing music, practice their pieces and never give up in order to succeed in their competitive field.

“Follow (your) passion; follow it with regularity,” Galera said. “One of the main things in music is that you need to make a fixed schedule for your time with your music.”

Aaron Dickens can be contacted at [email protected]