Willful Worker Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our 2020 Willful Worker Scholarship Winner – Wiley Skaret!

Biography: Wiley Skaret is a home-schooled 19-year-old young American classical pianist and improviser. Born in Indiana, he began studying piano in the Washington, DC, area at age five. Before his 6th birthday, Wiley gave his first solo piano concert to include an on-stage improvisation, which was soon followed by his 2009 New York City debut at Carnegie Hall. Since that time, Wiley has won various awards, to include MTNA first-prize state winner in Arizona, Colorado, and Virginia, first-prize winner of the Asian American International Piano Competition, and first-prize winner of the American Protege International Concerto Competition.

In 2014, Wiley moved from the United States to Bogota, Colombia. There, he continued his concert career, playing as a featured guest throughout Colombia in venues such as Bogota’s National Museum, the Teatro Fabio Tadeo Lozano, Manizales’ Teatro Fundadores, Medellin’s Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe, the Cartagena Convention Center, and the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence for various events, including the 2016 U.S. Independence Day Celebration, where he opened for Los Lobos.

Wiley is honored to have played Beethoven’s First Concerto with the Corpas University Orchestra in 2015, to include an on-stage improvisation of Beethoven’s “Unfinished” Cadenza. In 2017, he performed Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Spanish conductor, Gorka Sierra, and the Caldas Orchestra in Manizales, Colombia. The Manizales-based newspaper, La Patria, labeled the performance as “Incredible!” And in late 2017, Wiley was honored to play under the baton of Maestro Andres Jaime and the Antioquia Symphony in Medellin, as Colombia’s 2017 National Soloist Champion. National radio station, La FM, reported that Wiley’s audiences were left with “mouths wide open!” In 2019, he performed Mendelsohn’s first concerto with the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra in two back-to-back sold-out concert halls. After hearing Wiley’s improvisations shortly after the concert, Latin Grammy awarded singer-songwriter Carlos Vives characterized Wiley as, “One talented bad-ass.”

In 2017, nationally-syndicated newspaper in Colombia, El Espectador, referred to Wiley as the “Pianista de las Buenas Causas.” Indeed, Wiley made his international concert debut in Guatemala at age 12, playing sold-out back-to-back concerts in Guatemala City, raising over $15,000 USD for Guatemala’s Margarita Tejada’s Down Syndrome foundation. After moving to Colombia, Wiley created a non-profit foundation called “James 1,” responsible for creating a scholarship endowment for the children of Colombia’s fallen police heroes. As part of Wiley’s leadership of this initiative, Wiley and his team of U.S. cinematographers have produced music videos throughout Colombia — from Bogota, to Guasca, to Chingaza National Park, to Pereira, to the Valle de Cocora, to Cartagena, to Isla Baru, and to La Guajira — and given benefit concerts in support of the cause. After much hard work, James 1 is currently supporting eight young students as they study in universities all around Colombia. To see Wiley’s music videos and to learn about his project for the Colombian National Police, please visit www.james1.net.

Apart from his performance schedule, schooling, and foundational interests, Wiley is proud to have worked at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia: first, as an intern at the Office of the Judicial Attache; second, as a protocol assistant to U.S. Ambassador Kevin Whitaker; and third, as an assistant to the CBP attache. Wiley also enjoys a number of outdoor activities including slalom water skiing, equestrian jumping, and motocross.

In August of 2021, Wiley will begin his studies at Stanford University, where he plans to pursue a degree in music and complete the Management Science and Engineering program.

Reaction Statement: “I am honored to be the recipient of the Willful Worker Scholarship. I thank Price Benowitz for its strong commitment in support of the next generation of university students who seek to be intentional in their work so that we may achieve great goals for great things.

This scholarship inspires and propels me to find good work and to give my all in furtherance of worthy goals. I am grateful and honored to receive an award from a law firm that values good work, hard work, willful work, and work done with excellence – and I look forward to using this scholarship to continue doing just that.

Thank you, Mr. Greenberg and Partners, for your support.”