Member Spotlight: Evan Wish Knighted for Music and Years of Humanitarian Work

Throughout his career as an accomplished composer and pianist, Canadian-born Evan Wish has traveled all over the world. But his most recent trip to Italy proved to be among the greatest highlights of his life.

In October 2021, Wish was knighted by the Order of Saint George de Bourgogne in Italy for the merits in the international music category and humanitarian gifting thorough the years.

His musical odyssey began at age 7 with formal classical studies in Brandon, Manitoba. Wish gave his first solo recital at age 9, and soon after won first-place awards in classical competitions and first-class honors in his studies. After completing high school he moved to Fort Smith, North West Territories, for a year and half, where he composed his first piece, which he described as “a revelation.” Upon his return to Winnipeg, he received additional training with mentors in classical and jazz. He also learned how to write his music onto manuscript paper. During this time, he wrote a music program for pre-schoolers, was musical director/pianist with a traveling theater troupe, and provided musical accompaniment for free-style ballet classes with his original music.

“In 1981, I received federal and special opportunity funding to study music outside of Canada — I was the first in Manitoba to do so,” Wish said. He graduated at the Dick Grove School of Music, a private music school in Los Angeles, conducting his music with a 72-piece orchestra at the age of 25. He gained experience with songwriting, composing, arranging, orchestration and conducting. His master classes were with music producers like Bones Howe and composers in the industry, such as Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, Bill Conti, Jack Smalley, and Nelson Riddle.

“If ever there was a return on student investment for aid in music schooling, this is it, and I am very proud of this honor,” Wish said of his recent knighthood.

Upon leaving the Dick Grove School, his music career in the U.S. began in Florida in the late 1980s, writing music for world-class entertainer Philip Michael Thomas, who played Detective Tubbs on “Miami Vice.” He then began writing for various film and TV projects, utilizing a home studio with synthesizers. During this period he realized that his true passion was to be an artist playing his own music on the piano.

Wish lived in France for two years during the mid-1990s and had regular performances in Aix-en-Provence, the French Riviera, Lyon, Paris, and Europe, where he received praise from various arts critics. Back in the U.S., he took up private instruction for three years with prominent piano teacher Dr. Yakov Birman from Russia’s St. Petersburg Conservatory. Birman’s focus with Evan was on the “Art of Performance.” He studied J.S. Bach, Chopin, Haydn operas, and Carl Czerny. Absorbing Dr. Birman’s technique profoundly refined Evan’s musical approach. He has performed throughout the U.S and Europe, produced stage music in Paris, and studied with Dr. Yakov Birman of the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia.

Wish’s enduring love of music remains at the forefront of his professional musical odyssey and is what inspires him to continue making music full of hope, love, and prayer.