On Sunday, November 19th, the FLCCA presented a program that can only be described as a class act. Alina Kiryayeva is a world class master of the keyboard who captivated our audience with her incredible ability playing the piano. This was enhanced when she told us what each composer tried to say with his music.
Ms. Kiryayeva was born in the Ukraine and first started playing the piano at the age of four. She was raised by her grandparents, who played, and gave lessons. Both her parents also play. Her brother, who lives in the USA, plays the flute and she has a younger sister who lives in Ukraine who also plays the piano. As a child, Alina loved to read, but poor eyesight limited the number of hours she could do that each day.
At the age of 19, after winning a full scholarship to Juilliard, Alina left her family and home to come to America. She felt that there was a better opportunity to hone her craft here. Alina bravely started a new life in NYC, despite being alone, with very little money, and not speaking English. For the next 7 years she lived in 14 places from Manhattan to the Bronx and eventually to Queens where she now lives.
Nowadays, Alina gives piano lessons and continues to better her English from the students.
Her parents still live in Ukraine and she and her siblings spent a week visiting this past summer.
Alina is very grateful to America for giving her the opportunity to perfect her skill, and have a career. She told me that this is a great country and is applying for citizenship. Her future plans are to remain here, but probably a little further south of New York, where there is less snow.
Once you have had the privilege of hearing her play, I am sure you will agree with me that we are lucky she chose to make America her home.