Promising pianists |

Promising pianists

When 21-year-old Karina Komendera plays Sergei Rachmaninov’s Etude-Tableau in E-flat minor, she seems entranced in the music.

Her slender fingers sweep over the piano keys. The melody ripples through her hands. She instinctively closes her eyes while playing the softest notes.

Komendera is a Polish student attending the annual piano workshop offered by the Gold Country Piano Institute, a Nevada City non-profit.

“It’s great,” Komendera said about the workshop. “It’s another culture, another climate, beautiful instruments and great teachers.”

She also likes the charm of historic Nevada City.

For the past nine years, the Piano Institute’s workshop at the Miners Foundry has attracted piano students and instructors from across the globe.

This is Komendera’s second visit to Nevada City. She’s a third-year student at The Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw.

A $1,600 full-scholarship from Susan Costello, a patron of the Piano Institute, helped Komendera attend the workshop this year. A music group from Warsaw paid her airplane fare.

Komendera is grateful for the scholarship, because she couldn’t afford the workshop on her own.

She praises the high quality of the instruments, as well as a chance to meet music teachers from around the world.

This year the two instructors are Graham Scott from England and Pawel Skrypek from Poland.

Scott is head of the piano department at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and Pawel is the director of the Fryderyk Chopin State School of Music in Warsaw, according to Andrea Fox, the institute’s development director.

“There are some very good students here,” Scott said. “We have some excellent students from Poland and also a pre-college student from the Juilliard School (in New York).

“The level (of the students) is very high. We work with them to enhance their interpretive skills, the technical skills and, above all, how to communicate through music.”

It costs $1,800 to attend the workshop, including lessons, food, accommodation and transportation, Fox said.

“We are very fortunate to have music lovers in our community who act as host families for our students,” she added.

“The best part of the workshop is being able to help young pianists meet professors they could very well have never met,” Fox said.

“It’s bringing people from far-flung places to Nevada City, where they spend an intense time learning and working together before they go back into the world and continue their work as musicians.”


To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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