Lana’s quest in music has always gone beyond the technical. Whilst her piano skill is undeniable, the true wonder is the honesty she puts in behind the notes, the way she strives to truly make a difference in her music and conversations. Her head is still spinning, her heart is still racing, and she infects each audience she plays for with this same wondrous joy.
Lana recently relocated from the United States to Europe and is currently Artist in Residence at Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium and pursuing her Solist Diplom at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
WHAT EDUCATION HAVE YOU COMPLETED AND WHAT DID YOU GAIN FROM THOSE EXPERIENCES?
I began my musical studies at the age of five after having seen my mother play a piece by Russian composer Georgy Sviridov at a family friend’s house on their old and dusty upright piano. I remember it as if it was yesterday; me sitting in her lap, pretending to be playing, feeling a rush of something very strong and powerful. A feeling that I carry with me to this day and which still overwhelms me when I hear music being made with honesty.
I come from a family of non-musicians but my mother had taken piano lessons as a child and still remembered some when I started playing. I decided to devote my life to the piano when I was eight years old after having won my first competition in Sweden. I was very lucky because my teacher at the time gave me unconditional love and support, committing herself to my musical growth and development on a daily basis for the next eight years. With her help, I was able to leave Sweden at the age of sixteen and begin my musical studies at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts. I spent eleven transforming years in the United States and hold degrees from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and Mannes School of Music in New York.
WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW THAT BEST SHOWCASE THEM?
I am currently spending a lot of time thinking about the future and how to make classical music relevant in the broken world we live in, especially as a woman. But I believe and know that art isn’t here to separate us, and that is very encouraging. Since the pandemic put a pause to our lives, I have devoted myself to creating an online platform for Femme creators from all over the world (@letfemmetalk on Instagram), where women share their content and connect in a safe and supportive environment. This is a project I hope to develop beyond the internet once it’s safe to do so. I am very determined and eager to find ways to provide women with a support system where we can inspire and educate each other but most importantly be heard.
I have also been extremely fortunate during this unstable period because I have been able to occasionally travel and perform in front of a live audience. And those experiences did truly deepen my commitment and unconditional support for artists around the world, so I have been making a serious effort to connect with musicians in my close circle to make sure we have something to look forward to together as we dig into new waters. We are all part of a community in the end, and the community is liberty.
AS A MUSICIAN, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF TO SOMEONE THAT HAS NEVER HEARD OR SEEN YOU BEFORE?
This is a difficult question for me to answer since I usually don’t think of myself from the perspective of others… Out of the many things I’ve been told during the years in which I have been actively performing (by audiences and close friends) is that my music has been able to take them to a place in which they were able to fully give in to the music and forget everything else for some time. Now I know that it’s impossible for me to have the exact same experience as any other person, but the sound of those words really resonate with me. Whenever I play, be it at home or on a concert stage, I feel the most vulnerable and open, as if I’m standing on a field with no end in sight with my arms wide open embracing change— which in real life can be extremely scary to me. I do feel a special bond between the audience and me, I can hold them with one little note in the air, and they will not breathe. And that is a great, great moment. What I am trying to say is that there is no formula for success or how to be perceived by others, except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings. I have found that if you love life, life will love you back. And I believe that makes me and my music very human, not this or that, but very much alive and in the present. I am passionately involved in life: I love its change, its colors, its movement. And I hope people that meet me, will feel that.
WHAT IS A UNIQUE STORY YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH THE AUDIENCE?
One of the most memorable moments I had on stage was in Diyarbakir (Turkey) where two colleagues and I spent two weeks meeting and teaching Kurdish kids and teenagers at the Aram Tigran School (now Ma Academy of Music). A hundred people were waiting outside the auditorium, waiting to hear a classical music concert for the first time in their life. I felt humbled to be able to share this moment with so many people, young and old. But the strongest feeling of all was being present in a moment where the music, in its own way, created a unique sense of peace, perhaps even a greater reality. This moment has forever impacted my life as a performer and is forever engraved in my heart because for the first time in my life, I knew that it was moments like these which I lived for. That each performance and work of art has two faces, one towards its own time and one toward its future.
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