Almost no one believed that one of the best musical instruments in the world, a Kawai grand piano, would one day find its way to Alexander Spendiaryan Music School. A Kawai grand piano is the musical instrument of dreams for many pianists and is not only very difficult to acquire but also very expensive.
“Due to the chaos and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, classes moved online, everyone was locked in their homes, in no mood. Suddenly there was a phone call informing that the grand piano had arrived in Armenia. I could hardly believe my ears. Instantly, all the faded colors became vibrant again," Marina Vardanyan, the director of the Alexander Spendiaryan Music School, recalls the story of the grand piano finding its way to the school.
Gor and Svetlana, who are students at the music school, are listening closely to the story, while at the same time recalling how only after touching the musical instrument did they believe it was really there in the concert hall, and they would be able to play it.
“We were very happy that the Izmirlian Foundation had provided our students the opportunity to thrive. We decided to come together, play a piece of music, make a video and send it to Izmirlian Foundation leadership to express our gratitude in some way,” recall the students.
The grand piano as a guarantee of success
About 900 students in the age group from 6-15 years attend the music school, of which 350 study in the piano department.
Twelve-year-old Gor Hakobyan has been playing music since he was 7 years old. His brother is an opera singer. Gor is convinced that musical talent was inherited through genes. A few weeks ago, he won a Belgian international music competition and a special prize in one of the prestigious competitions held in Moscow. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all music competitions were held virtually via online platform.
“Having a good instrument is the most important thing for a musician. It enables achieving greater success and reaching new heights. This instrument is amazing with a wonderful sound and tonal quality due to which I won the first prize at the Belgian “Merci, Maestro!” International Piano Competition and a special prize at the 14th Vladimir Krainev Moscow International Competition.”
Svetlana Hakobyan has been playing music since she was 6 years old. She likes drawing and reading, but above all she loves the music school and cannot imagine her everyday life and her future without music. She has recently participated in a number of international competitions and won the top prizes.
“I dedicate 4-5 hours a day to music and practicing. The neighbors complain, nevertheless I continue practicing. I have sent the recordings of my performances on this grand piano to numerous competitions, and I have won the first place. The grand piano has a great tonal quality and playability with a light-touch keyboard " says Svetlana.
The support is diverse
The grand piano is not the only donation from the Izmirlian Foundation, as mentioned by Marina Vardanyan. The Foundation has replenished the school’s inventory of musical instruments in recent years, enabling the opening of new classes.
“In 2013, I applied to the Izmirlian Foundation for support on two projects. The musical instruments at the school were from the 60's, and we were unable to open new classes. For example, we did not have classes for drum and wind instruments.
I applied to the Foundation in September 2013, and already in October we hosted Izmirlian Foundation leadership at our school. Months later, in the spring of 2014, we provided a list of the required musical instruments and signed an agreement with the Foundation.”
After presenting the list, the school inventory of musical instruments was replenished with 30 new instruments, music stands, piano chairs, and violin shoulder rests. As a result, in 2014-2015 classes of marimba, drum instruments, horn and trombone were opened, and a jazz band was formed at the school.
“I applied to the Izmirlian Foundation with another project aimed at renovating the school concert hall. However, after the municipality renovated it in 2016, I decided to ask for the much-needed grand piano for the school. The school lacked high quality performance instruments and possessed several grand pianos manufactured in 1980s. On September 16, 2020, the students were already practicing the piano.”
The Izmirlian Foundation has been implementing numerous charitable and development projects in education, healthcare, social, innovation and tourism sectors in Armenia and Artsakh since 1990 with the aim of supporting the socio-economic development of Armenia and Artsakh. The Izmirlian Foundation remains committed to continuing to implement varied philanthropic projects moving forward in line with Armenia’s ongoing challenges and developments.
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan