Friday pick: a virtual concert by Astghik Gevorkyan at Steinway Piano Gallery
Here’s a fine way to spend a Friday evening: listening to a wonderful pianist.
Astghik Levonyan Gevorkyan will perform on Facebook Live from the Steinway Piano Gallery of Fresno at 6 p.m. in a concert that promises lots of audience interaction — even though there won’t be practically anyone there.
(Organizers say: “Comments will be enabled and you can interact with the artist LIVE and we welcome your interaction. We LOVE the Comments as they come in and it makes the event so much more joyful, so please … join in on the fun!”)
Here is Gevorkyan’s program:
• Jarrod Randrich, “Pirates of the Caribbean” Theme Song
• Jack Fina, “Bumble Boogie”
• Edward Grieg, “Halberg suite op. 40 #1, #4”
• Manuel Ponce, “Intermezzo” #1
• Sergei Bortkiewicz, “Iam 3/4”
• Aram Khachaturian, “Toccata”
• Arno Babadjanyan, “Elegie”
• Arno Babadjanyan, “Dance of Vagharshapat”
There are more performances in the coming weeks:
Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Gevorkyan was introduced to the piano at age 3.he attended the prestigious Romanos Melikyan Institute of Music from the years of 1996 to 2000.
In 2005 she earned her masters degree at The Komitas State Conservatory with honors in all areas of her studies. From the years 2006-2008 she further pursued her piano performance degree and received her doctorates with honors as a concert pianist and specializes in piano.
At the age of 18 she performed in a national solo piano competition in Yerevan, Armenia and was awarded Third prize. In 2007 she participated in classical/contemporary music festival held in Russia and received first prize. She was invited to perform as the opening solo-act performance at the Karotclassical music festival in the world-renowned Kremlin Hall in Moscow, Russia.
Gevorkyan took time on Friday to answer a few questions from me:
Q: You have an impressive bio on the Facebook event page for the concert. Can you fill us in on what you’re doing now? How did you end up in Fresno?
A: I met my husband, got married and moved to Fresno to start a family. Now I teach piano at Fresno City College. I also accompany at Our Lady Of Victory Church. Most of my time goes to my two lovely girls.
Q: How did you get involved with the Steinway Piano Gallery’s Facebook Live concert series?
Six years ago when I was teaching private lessons, one of my students asked me to help them find and choose a piano. We ended up at Steinway Gallery. I met Heyner Oviedo (owner of Steinway Piano Gallery of Fresno) when looking at the pianos, and he offered me to use one of his classrooms to do my lessons. That was the beginning of my relationship with Steinway gallery. We did some fundraiser concerts and public concerts with Heyner. Music has always been a big part of my life and I do what I can to pass it on to the next generation. Facebook Live is a great project Steinway started during the shelter in place and when they invited me to play I couldn’t refuse.
Q: How will you be interacting live with the audience? Have you done something similar before, and, if so, what did you learn from that experience?
A: This is the first time I am doing an online concert. There has been a lot of new experiences for me this year. I did my first online piano lessons, first online church mass and now first Live concert. I am adjusting as I go. It has been an interesting year for all of us but because of it we explore things we never would have otherwise. I have learned a lot and plan on building on this in the future.
Q: Having a live audience can mean a lot for a performer. An artist can “sense” the room and feed off that intensity. Is it hard to perform for an essentially empty room, like you’ll be doing today?
A: It is a fact that there is nothing like live audience in the room, but I am going to look at this as a recording studio to overcome the empty room feeling. The other perspective of the Facebook Live is there will potentially a lot bigger audience so the thought of being able to rich a world wide audience will also help overcome the empty room feeling.
Q: Can you pick two pieces on your program — one more contemporary/crowd pleasing, the other more classical — and tell us just a little about each?
A: “Pirates Of The Caribbean” is one of the favorites in my play list. When I play for my family and friends it always sets the mood and that is why I decided to play that today. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as my family.
In the classical side of the program my favorite is Tchaikovsky’s “Valse Sentimentale.” It suits the soul and takes me to a whole other world. In the crazy times we are going through. Sometimes we all need our special place to relax and get away from everything. I hope it has the same affect on everyone else and helps take away whatever worries they may have.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t playing the piano? Tell us a little about yourself. How have you been spending your time in quarantine?
Most of my time is spent with my family. If anything quarantine has made my life busier. Thankfully I was able to continue my duties as a teacher and a pianist. I have spent more time with my girls and husband and have been brushing up on my computer skills since everything is online now.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
A: I would like to encourage everyone to follow their dreams and not worry about failure. Failure is only a lesson to improve and try again until you reach your dream.