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School of Music

  • Sept. 2023 spotlight: Brian Wilmer

September ’23 Alumni Spotlight - Brian Michael Wilmer, ’10

Brian Wilmer (Bachelor of Music, clarinet performance) is a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force and he and his wife Michelle, are both currently stationed with the USAFE (United States Air Forces in Europe) Band in Germany. They get to tour the continents of Europe and Africa performing music. They also have a daughter, Rosie, who just turned three. We recently caught up with Brian to ask some questions about his time at the USC School of Music.

Why did you choose the USC School of Music?

The USC School of Music was welcoming from the moment I walked in the building. Joe Eller and Jennifer Jablonski in particular were kind, helpful, and generous with their time when I came to audition.  No other place I visited or auditioned for was like that.

What ensembles did you perform with while at USC?

Chamber Ensembles; Opera at USC Orchestra; USC Symphonic Winds; USC Symphony Orchestra; USC Wind Ensemble

What person, course or experience was most influential for you while at the School of Music? How?

Joe Eller was my mentor and like a second father to me while at USC. I learned a lot from him in lessons, master classes, and sometimes chamber music coachings. I would not have stayed with music or be where I am today without him!

How has your education at the USC School of Music helped you in your life and career?

The School of Music gave me the foundation in music I desperately needed to pursue a career in the field. As a freshman I didn't know what it would take to be a professional musician, but the School of Music was an enriching experience with an incredible amount of performance and teaching opportunities.

What is one of your favorite memories, classes, professors or activities while attending the School of Music?

For two summers I was part of the Piccolo Spoleto festival in Charleston. The school put together an orchestra and we performed around the city. The concerts were fun, but hanging out with friends around town was even better!

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates pursuing a music performance or music education career?

Take care of yourself and your loved ones. You're going to spend a lot of time practicing, rehearsing, performing, teaching...don't forget the rest of your life along the way.

What is one of your proudest professional or personal accomplishments that occurred after graduating from the School of Music in which your education played a role?

My first time playing in an orchestra was with the USC Symphony, and that opened my experience to a genre of music I hadn't known before. Years later, I was lucky to be named principal clarinetist of a regional orchestra in California for 9 years. I wouldn't have gotten that position without my time at the School of Music.

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