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Tanya Gabrielian Plays It Classical, But Not Safe

Eighteen-year-old Tanya Gabrielian's true dedication to music revealed itself one eventful day during kung fu practice. A Harvard biomedical engineering student on a gap year at London's Royal Academy of Music, she kicked, slipped, and fell forward. But instead of shielding her head with her hands, the pianist-violist pulled her hands back in order to protect the tools of her music.

Hailed by the Times of London as a “pianist of powerful physical and imaginative muscle,” Gabrielian soared onto the international stage at age twenty with back-to-back victories in the Scottish International Piano Competition and Khachaturian International Competition. Her debut recital in the Purcell Room in London was chosen as “performance of the year” by Seen and Heard International.Gabrielian has studied with Matti Raekallio, Ursula Oppens, Robert McDonald, Hamish Milne, and Alexander Satz.

Beyond the traditional concert stage, she's passionate about inspiring new generations of musicians and music-lovers in diverse settings. Gabrielian's projects have included collaborations with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in programs featuring composers with mental illness, and an interactive performance series for patients at a psychiatric institute. She collaborated on an installation with artist Fran Bull for In Flanders Fields: A Meditation on War, and on a multidisciplinary project combining Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross with final statements from executed death-row inmates.

"...Unexpectedly entertaining. Gabrielian told jokes that were not always the kind you'd expect from a concert experience. They were periodically risqué, very light-hearted, and casual." - The New York Times

(Broadcast:  Musician's Spotlight ,  3/17/20. Listen on the radio Tuesdays, 7 p.m., or  via podcast.)


Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

John Floridis, the host and producer of Musician's Spotlight, has been with Montana Public Radio since 1997. He has interviewed over 200 musicians during that time from household names like B.B. King, Alison Krauss and Lyle Lovett, to Montana musicians such as Eden Atwood, Darko Butarac and Tom Catmull. He is also an independent recording and performing artist in his own right and a former registered music therapist.
Beth Anne Austein has been spinning tunes on the air (The Folk Show, Dancing With Tradition, Freeforms), as well as recording, editing and mixing audio for Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS, since the Clinton Administration. She’s jockeyed faders or "fixed it in post” for The Plant Detective; Listeners Bookstall; Fieldnotes; Musicians Spotlight; The Write Question; Storycorps; Selected Shorts; Bill Raoul’s music series; orchestral and chamber concerts; lecture series; news interviews; and outside producers’ programs about topics ranging from philosophy to ticks.