Tanya Gabrielian: International by 20

The trickle of a major chord draws audiences in, concocting background music to a dramatic movie scene. Melodious music fills the room, bouncing off the cinderblock walls and into the ears of those sitting in the audience. The scarlet red curtain backs up the black piano from which the melody flows. A dark-haired pianist in a flowy blue dress sits behind the keys, closing her eyes as passion runs through her fingertips, allowing the music to tell the story. She flawlessly executes each note, throwing the audience into a burst of applause as her first piece comes to a close.

Tanya Gabrielian knows how to play piano. She has performed at venues like Carnegie Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Sydney Opera House. Gabrielian took her place on the international stage at the age of 20 and has been winning competitions and awards ever since. Her passion for music is easily reflected by her accomplishments. Gabrielian’s performance was topped off by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a song written for an orchestra that she performed entirely by herself. From older couples to college students, her impressive talents drew everyone to the edge of their seats.

Tanya Gabrielian performing in Sottile Theatre for the International Piano Series at the College of Charleston (Photo Courtesy of Grace Samuelson).

The International Piano Series is Charleston’s the longest running program with a focus solely on piano. On Tuesday October 10, attendees of all ages flocked into Sottile Theatre dressed to the nines for this season’s first event in the series. Gabrielian’s extensive list of impressive accomplishments were proved accurate after the first few bars of her first song. The International Piano Series not only works to bring some of the best piano players from around the world to Charleston, but also aims to help students. The day after any International Piano Series Concert, the guest pianist offers a public masterclass where students can perform and receive critiques. While a tremendous event for music students, the International Piano Series is beneficial to general public by implementing excellence in the arts, education and music appreciation.

Gabrielian’s music spoke for itself. Between each piece she described the story behind the song with a bit of banter. Even without explanation, Gabrielian’s fluent playing told a story of its own. The piano series will return to Charleston three more times this school year in November, February and March. You don’t have to be a student of music to appreciate a good piano player, and Gabrielian certainly delivered a beautiful concert.

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