Janet Marie Bungard Wallenkampf

1956 -

Janet Bungard Wallenkampf, a pianist, has taught piano lessons privately for over thirty years. She has also been active in outreach programs on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist church.††   

Janet was born in Salem, Oregon, the third daughter of Stanley Christian and Marjorie Wilcox Bungard.† She and her three sisters were raised in a home where music was ever present, both parents being avid lovers of classical music. Their father, a physician, enjoyed listening to piano and string music and recordings of music from the Baroque and Classical eras that were played constantly, between the sounds of piano practice by all four daughters.††

Janet started piano lessons at age seven.† Her primary teacher during her elementary school years was Doris Bugbey, a teacher of many piano students in the Sacramento, California, community. She then studied with Dilworth Simmons in Sacramento during her high school years.† She recently talked about her study with Bugbey and Simmons and the effect it had on her as a teenager and her preparation for college:

Both Bugbey and Simmons were excellent teachers.† She gave me a wonderful foundation in technique and music fundamentals, and he introduced me to a broad range of repertoire including works such as La Cathťdrale Engloutie by Debussy and music by Liszt and others that fascinated and challenged me and widened my musical horizons.†

As one of Simmonsí students I also performed frequently in master classes in a little theater room in the basement of his studio.† That experience and playing as an accompanist for soloists and the choir in the academy and assisting in music at church were opportunities for affirmation and support for me as a performer and musician which became an important part of my identity as a teenager.

When I graduated from Sacramento Union Academy in 1974, I had been considering the possibility of becoming a physician or pursuing music.† That fall I enrolled as a music major at Pacific Union College and studied with Lynn Wheeler for the next four years. He helped me find the true spirit of the music and was very helpful in helping me become a more expressive performer.

In her four years at PUC Janet accompanied numerous students and was accompanist in Marianne Scrivenís voice studio. She gave a joint piano recital in her first year and then presented a solo recital in each of the next three years. She particularly enjoyed playing music by Chopin, Brahms, and Prokofiev and relished the opportunity to perform two-piano works with fellow students.

In 1978, following completion of a B.Mus. in piano performance, she spent a year in Walla Walla with her parents, who had moved there, taking classes in art and literature, and piano lessons at Walla Walla College, now University, from Leonard Richter who was in his first year at the college. She also worked as an adjunct piano teacher in the music department, did some accompanying for vocal students under Harold Lickey, and gave a solo recital. She enjoyed her study with Richter, who helped her to listen more closely to her own playing and refined her ability to highlight the phrases and countermelodies in the music.

When Janet would visit with her sisters in Southern California during this time, she kept hearing about Victor Wallenkampf, a medical student at Loma Linda University and how he would be the perfect husband for her. When he had left the area in 1976 to do his residency in Albany, New York, and then taken a position there at the Albany Medical Center, she thought the prospect of meeting him had ended.† She later described how that changed and affected her life and continued piano study:

I was in high school when he was in medical school because he had gone through school so quickly, skipping grades because he knew he wanted to be a physician. Then I heard he had gone to New York so I knew Iíd never meet him. The year after I was at Walla Walla I was working in the office of the Dean at Loma Linda School of Medicine and also teaching a few piano students.

While I was at work one day he walked through the door to the office and a friend introduced us. I was stunned. Here was the person my sisters had been talking about for the past seven years standing in front of me. He didnít know that I knew who he was.† He gave me a quick synopsis of who he was and asked me out for a date.

We married in November [1980].† This all happened at a pivotal point in my life. Before he came into my life I had been making tentative plans about what to do next, considering the possibility of studying for a masterís degree in piano performance, and applying to the University of Maryland to study with Stewart Gordon.† I had earlier been in a master class under him and had been very impressed with his teaching. But Victor was perfect for me and I thought I would never meet anyone like him again, so I moved to Albany.

Victor Arnold Wallenkampf had also been raised in a home where music was important, his mother, Mae, being a music teacher, and he was supportive of her wishes to continue music study. She was accepted as a piano student by Stanley Hummel, who had studied under Josef Lhevinne at Julliard, performed as a soloist with leading orchestras, concertized widely in the U.S. and Europe, and been a contemporary of Vladimir Horowitz. She regards her years of study with Hummel as an incredible experience, the perfect conclusion to her training as a pianist.††

During the next fifteen years she periodically studied with him, played recitals, and maintained a private piano studio.† She also worked closely with Victor, who was board certified in both internal and emergency medicine, in health programs and projects with an evangelistic outreach, assisting where possible.†

They relocated to California in 1996. Since moving to Arcata, California, she has taught piano to students attending nearby Humboldt Bay Christian School, an Adventist school in Bayside, and teaches privately in her studio at home. She still occasionally receives coaching on her repertoire from piano professors at Humboldt State University. She and her husband have also sponsored concert artists, such as Leon Fleischer and Yuja Wang at HSU.

The Wallenkampfs have one son, Karl, who is a humanities major at Walla Walla University and is student chaplain in the menís dormitory.

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Source: Information provided by Janet Wallenkampf, November 2012; Interview, 13 January 2013; email, 18 January, 2013; Obituary for Stanley Hummel, Albany Times Union, 17 April 2005.