Alumnus garners prestigious artist award; continues classical music career path

From Fort Worth to New York City and all places in between, TCU graduate Adam Golka is making a name for himself.After being awarded the Gilmore Young Artist Award, Golka is now traveling the country, playing in major concert halls, said Dana Ramos, Golka’s agent..

The Gilmore Award is given to two students under the age of 22 every two years. Each recipient receives $15,000 to further his or her musical career..

The candidates for the award are judged discreetly instead of in competition form for musicianship and performing abilities over a long period of time.

“I remember getting the call on June 1,” Golka said. “The director asked me if I was having a good day. He then asked me if my day would be better if he told me that I had just been awarded the Gilmore Award. My day became very good.”

Golka is a first generation American. His parents fled Communist-controlled Poland in the 1980s, he said. The youngest of three children, Golka began playing the piano and the violin at age 4. He said he enjoyed playing the violin more but ultimately could not deny his talent for playing the piano.

He had his first solo concert at age 9 at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Since then, he has had over 150 performances all over the world.

A few years after his first concert, he met TCU piano professor and renowned pianist Jose Feghali at a piano festival in Texas. Golka said he knew from that first visit that he wanted to be taught by Feghali. Once a week his mother would drive him from Houston to Fort Worth for lessons.

“Feghali is not only my mentor, but my dear friend,” Golka said. “He is an amazing musician and teacher.”

Feghali said it didn’t take him long to realize that Golka was very bright, special and talented.

“It takes a mixture of qualities to make a musician,” he said. “He has a lot of talent, but he is the hardest working person I know. Some just rely on talent, but he matches it with his work.”

At 15, Golka moved to Fort Worth and began the Artist Diploma Program at TCU. This program is geared for the most advanced and gifted young performers who show serious potential for becoming concert artists.

Golka said he loved his time at TCU and he loved the environment of the school and the diversity of the campus. He said he was treated as an equal even though he was younger than everyone else. Golka graduated from TCU at age 18.

All of his work culminated in July when he received the Gilmore Young Artist Award.

Feghali described this award as “the most prestigious of the young artist awards.”

Golka said he views the award as a huge honor. He said it is still hard to believe he was actually chosen.

Ramos, from Verve Productions in New York, said, “To know Adam is to love him. He is very down to earth and real,” she said. “Everyone who meets him likes him.”

Golka said he loves music and he loves playing for people. He said he wants to popularize classical music and wants people to appreciate it and that classical music is “for deep expression and thought, not purely for entertainment.”

Golka said his life revolves around music, and he hopes it stays that way for a long time.