"The Herculean keyboard demands were met with a strikingly poised nobility and commanding presence." - The Washington Post
Pianist Tanya Gabrielian joins our Summer Festival and Kaleidoscope Lectures at the end of July with back-to-back engagements. She performs a concert on July 30th featuring Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue followed by a lecture on July 31 on "Composers and Mental Illness". While she is no stranger to the international concert stage, many might not be aware of her personal journey of the healing power of music. Here's her story.
Despite starting piano lessons at the age of three, Tanya never felt the calling to be a musician as a child. Growing up in California, she graduated early from high school as valedictorian and accepted a spot at Harvard University to study biomedical engineering. On a whim, she took a gap year and went to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music, where she felt out of place. She found solace by studying kung fu and trained intensively in Zhuan Shu Kuan, a northern Chinese style of martial arts.
When Tanya was eighteen, she was sparring and had an accident that would change her life. Slipping on a puddle of sweat while kicking, she fell forward, and instead of protecting her head with her hands, she consciously pulled her arms back so she wouldn't have any injuries to prevent her from playing the piano.
Falling on her head and twisting her spine, Tanya spent the next month hospitalized, shuffling between nine hospitals and two operating rooms. A teenager maneuvering through a foreign medical system, Tanya felt isolated and alone during her hospitalization and turned to music as a distraction. For the first time in her life, she was able to experience music as a spectator, elevating her from her own discomfort.
After this experience, Tanya felt no reservation and chose to dedicate herself to music. Overwhelmed by the power of music to provide encouragement and hope, she committed her life to bring the same joy to others.
(Story excerpt taken from Tanya's website.)