Monday, July 20, 2009

Marianna Abrahamyan

1. How did you decide to become an artist?
I remember myself as a child who was always singing, dancing, acting, reciting, and later on performing on the piano in front of people. I would always see big smiles and loud applause at the end. It was quite entertaining at first, but the more I grew the more I realized that I was born to be an artist, to make people happy with my art, to touch their hearts with my performances, and to teach all about it.

2. What kind of work as an artist have you done so far, and what other work have you done?
I am a performing musician. My two loves are organ and piano. I think of me as a musician who performs compositions, in an attempt to bring alive the composer’s music. At the same time I feel I am a performer with my own thoughts and individual approach to playing music, and these factors help me incorporate my own creativity into the compositions.

3. How did the Kenan Fellowship contribute to your development as an artist?
All the knowledge and experience I gained as a Kenan Fellow at the Lincoln Center gave me self-confidence and courage, and led to many successful accomplishments in my life and career! I made many good friends and most importantly, I learned how to survive and promote myself as an artist along with learning the aesthetic education ideas of the Lincoln Center. Most of all, Kenan Fellowship helped me to realize what I truly can do as an artist. It encouraged me not to be afraid of difficulties but to take them as challenges and overcome them.

4. What is the most memorable and positive experience you had as a Kenan Fellow?
I treasure the friendship with my colleagues as a Kenan Fellow.

I proudly use the teaching strategies I learned at the Lincoln Center. My public performance itself was the highlight of my experiences at the Lincoln Center! But having to get out and knock on doors of churches to find a venue for my pipe-organ performance was the greatest lesson of my life, albeit one of the most desperate and frustrating times of my life. If I succeeded in New York, I can succeed anywhere in the world!

5. What was disappointing or frustrating to you about the Kenan Fellowship?
Living in New York City and moving three times in eight months proved to be challenging. Teaching at an inner-city public school was scary at first. Most frustrating of all was not having a venue available for my public performance. When you are told that your situation is a part of the challenge of being an artist in New York, you have nothing else left but to roll your sleeves and start literally knocking on doors, spending whole days going from church to church to find one with a pipe-organ and convince them to let you use it.

6. What are you planning to do next in your artistic career?
My dream is to open my own art center, where students would learn music and other forms of art. I imagine a place where my students can learn to enhance their lives and the lives of others by appreciating all forms of art. I see a place where my students can freely discuss, question, and criticize art related issues.

7. How does your art relate to your family and community life?
While pregnant with my twins, any music I played was accompanied with lots of kicks in my belly. It seemed the twins already had artistic genes and they were dancing when I played. Now that they are born, I try soothing and calming them by playing classical music on my piano, although sometimes I think it has the desired effect on me more than on them…

It means a lot for me to hear almost every Sunday after the church service people telling me that my organ performance brings so much energy and excitement to the worship. It makes people in the congregation joyful, and they seem to leave the church satisfied, not only with the religious content that our pastor provides, but also with what I provide in terms of presenting that content.

It is nice to know that there is something I can do to bring joy to people’s lives!

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