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SMAA Student Placed Third Among 11 States!!

Congratulation to Stephanie Chang!! She returned from MTNA Eastern Division Competition that took place in Boston on January 8, 2017 with 3rd Place. She was the youngest and the only girl that got awarded at this prestigious level contest! We are very proud of you Stephanie!

Chang Wins MTNA State Piano Competition



By | January 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on SMAA Student Placed Third Among 11 States!!

Great news from the latest State competition!

Great latest news from the Stamford Music and Arts Academy: two of the piano division students have passed preliminary State level competition. The first prize in Junior Division is given to Stephanie Chang, who is a well trained prodigy product of the Academy from her childhood years. Stephanie will represent Connecticut at the Eastern Division Competition in Boston on January 2017. Her program included works of Beethoven, Chopin and Ravel.

Stephanie Chang concert stage… appearances reveal already an established musician artist. It is unbelievable to witness such impressive achievement of this young girl in her teenage years. It all comes as a result of hard work and patience which has to become a necessary addition in polishing a good talent. Also it should be supported by the real inner effort of the student to become a performing artist, which is also a gift besides of being a talented child.

The second prize winner at the State Competition Senior Division is Gyan Singh Maria, who is also a student of the Stamford Music and Arts Academy. He performed compositions of Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Shostakovich. Gyan recently returned back from Europe, Hungary, winning there the First Prize among the young artists on the International Piano Concerto Competition. Now he is invited to perform the Second Concerto of Rachmaninov in Budapest with the orchestra as a winner of the First Prize.

We are proud to acknowledge that both of these young artists already familiar with the best performing stages as Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall by Lincoln Center.

The next step for two of these winners is in January, when they will continue competition already on the interstate level. We cannot wait for this special moment when they will participate and compete among the well trained in classical music best young artists of eleven states.

By | November 4th, 2016|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Great news from the latest State competition!

Student Annling Wang – Winner of 2015 SYAP

Stamford Music & Arts Academy is happy to present SMAA Student ANNLING WANG – winner of 2015 SYAP  Concerto Competition – performing Tchaikovsky 1st Piano Concerto on Sunday March 6th, 2016 with Young  Artists Philharmonic Orchestra. Location: Auditorium at Westhill High School in  Stamford. Concert begins at 4:00 pm. Students are free. Please come and bring family and friends.
You can find Flyer Invitation here:

Also you can read about Annling:

Hope to see you there! 🙂

By | February 25th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Student Annling Wang – Winner of 2015 SYAP

4th Grader From NMS Wins 2nd Prize In International Youth Piano Competition!

154 applicants from 11 different countries came together last month to participate in a week long International Youth Piano Competition! It took place in NYC at Merkin Concert Hall.

Some of the best, young pianists traveled to compete at the week-long event. Among the competitors was Stephanie Chang, a 4th grader from North Mianus School. She won 2nd Prize and just so happens to be a Student of the Stamford Music & Arts Academy!

See the full article here.

By | July 16th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 4th Grader From NMS Wins 2nd Prize In International Youth Piano Competition!

Congratulations to all winners of Audrey Thayer Competition, Hartford, CT

Congratulations to all winners of Audrey Thayer Competition, Hartford, CT
Benjamin Wu – HM Grade 3
Preston Yao – 1st Prize Grade 5
Dicheng Wu – 2nd Prize Grade 6
Riya Krishnan – 2nd Prize Grade 7
Verna Yin – 1st Prize Grade 8

Congratulations to Stephanie Chang (1st Prize) and Wendy Zhan (3rd Prize) with winning Piano Teachers Congress of NY Competition!

By | June 10th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Congratulations to all winners of Audrey Thayer Competition, Hartford, CT

Riverside 6 Years Old

Greenwich Citizen News
Monday, September 10, 2012

Musical prodigy: Riverside 6-year-old is a natural when she sits at the piano

When Riverside resident Stephanie Chang sits at the piano, the fingers of her small hands glide effortlessly over the keys — hand over hand and up and down the keyboard they move. Her feet just reach pedals, which have been specially raised on her family’s Yamaha piano to accommodate the length of the six-year-old, first-grader’s legs.

The young virtuoso, who just entered first grade at North Mianus School, recently was invited to perform in three concerts in Connecticut and New York City before the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

Her recent appearances as a solo pianist include performances at the Mystic Arts Center, the Christ and St. Stephen’s Church in New York City and Tunxis Community College in Farmington.

“She loves to be on stage, says her mother, Linda Chang. “She’s a very shy person, but when it comes to the piano, she’s a different person.”

Stephanie has been learning to play the piano since she was four. According to her mom, she first showed her musical aptitude when she was just three years old. “She was correcting her big brother’s piano playing!” says Linda. “She was telling him, `That’s the wrong note!'”

(Turns out that her brother James, a seventh grader at Eastern Middle School, is a star musician himself, a saxophone player, and one of the youngest players in the school’s jazz band.)

What was key with Stephanie was finding just the right teacher, her mom says. Svitlana Fiorito of Stamford turned out to be the right fit. She not only was passionate about music, Chang says, “She has Stephanie make up fun stories to go with the music.”

“Stephanie is a quiet girl, but very strong inside,” says her instructor. “She doesn’t speak much in lessons.” With her years of experience in teaching young children, Fiorito found the way to reach Stephanie — by engaging her in story-telling. “I needed to reach her soul,” says the instructor.

To learn the three-movement piano concerto by composer Nicolai Silvansky, Fiorito said that she told Stephanie “to go home and tell a story while the music is moving, then write the story down on paper.”

“She made a wonderful story for the concerto. It’s about a bunny rabbit that wanted to be in the woods and gets lost. The mother goes to look for him and finds him. So, each part of the music she was telling herself the story, and at the concert she played the music through in 7 to 8 minutes.”

Fiorito is now teaching Stephanie Chopin’s Polonaise. “It’s very loving, caring, feeling music because the music is all about love,” she says. “This is the problem with small children who are getting advanced in technique — we are forced to give them pieces that are above their emotional level. I have to communicate with her in a way that she understands,” the instructor adds.

Chang says of Fiorito, “Her teaching has led my daughter into the world of classical music, weaving Bach and Mozart into her dreams. We are very lucky to find a teacher like her for Stephanie.”

But there are physical challenges for such a little girl playing such big music. There’s the footstool to support her feet to reach the raised pedals. She does special exercises to stretch her hands so she can play Chopin and other master composers. And finger exercises are part of Stephanie’s regimen. “There are a lot of injuries with piano players,” says her mother, “if they don’t use the proper position.” A bit of improvising goes into playing certain chords, she adds. “Her hand isn’t large enough to connect the keys.” A less important note will be taken out, for example, or, “Stephanie will pick up her hand and then play the given key.”

When she performed the Bach Prelude earlier this year at the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association Competition, she was the winner in the 6- to 9-year-old age group.

Stephanie puts Johann Sebastian Bach at the top of her list of favorite composers, she says, “Because his music is deep and tricky, requiring a lot of thinking. There are multiple voices, with left hand and right hand playing separate melodies as if they were talking to each other!”

Bach’s sense of humor appeals to her. “He used to say it’s easy to play any musical instrument — all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time, and the instrument will play itself. That’s what I am trying to do, too!” the young pianist says.

Frederic Chopin is her second favorite and she listens to his Nocturnes every night before she goes to sleep. “His music is so gentle,” she says. “It calms me, it makes me feel very cozy.”

Stephanie says her third favorite composer is Muzio Clementi. “I played many of Clementi’s Sonatinas; they are so fun, and I can make up a lot of fun stories to go with his music.” When a person is sad, she said, “Clementi’s music can make him happy!”

Fiorito says, “Stephanie’s next dream is to play at Carnegie Hall.”

And the instructor doesn’t doubt it one bit. “That,” the teacher says, “is going to happen.”

By | September 10th, 2012|News|Comments Off on Riverside 6 Years Old

Golden Girl

Greenwich “The Daily”
Friday. June 3. 2011


Layla Kurbanov, a second grade student at Whitby school, won the Gold medal in the children ages 5-7 years old piano category on May 1st at the Golden Key Music Festival held at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. The Golden Key Music Festivals are designed to educate and inspire student musicians plus help them unlock their musical potential. Held in Barcelona and Vienna as well as in the New York, the festivals and associated competitions provide opportunities to meet and hear other dedicated young musicians and to perform on some of the most prestigious stages. Layla is the daughter of Oktay and Olga Kurbanov of Greenwich.

by Anna Helhoski

By | June 3rd, 2011|News|Comments Off on Golden Girl

Piano Prodigy

The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains – Fanwood TIMES
Thursday, March 17, 2011 Page 19

Piano Prodigy Blumer Plays
Concerto with Symphony

Charles Prince, Conductor; Seth Blumer, Pianist
Specially Written for The Westfield leader and The Times

PLAINFIELD – What were you doing in elementary school? If your name is Seth Blumer, you were playing the piano in Carnegie Hall, winning competitions, and playing a concerto with the Plainfield Symphony. This 6th grader performed Bach’s Piano Concerto in d minor (BWV 1052) on Saturday, March 5, at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church playing with excellent technique and musical insight. It is not all that unusual for youngsters to have excellent technical capabilities at early ages – little “prodigies” abound – but there is more to making music than playing the notes.

Young Mr. Blumer plays with the native musical insight that musicians can only be born with – no amount of coaching can substitute for the innate understanding of where a phrase goes.

When you couple that with good technical training, the prodigy becomes a musician, and that is certainly what he is. Seth performed the Bach with energy and finesse and a real sense of purpose and understanding. If you weren’t looking, you would never have known that the performer was only 11- years old. And lest you think that he is too serious for his own good, (he is 11-years old, after all), he played a fun bluesy encore by jazz pianist Joe Utterback. Guess he can still enjoy being a kid!

As an aside, I would like to say that it was good to see a student playing a work of a technical level at which he can excel. Too many teachers give students works, which are too difficult and let them slop through. One will never learn to play with nuance or control if it’s all you can do to just get the notes out. I was glad to see him playing Bach, not attempting Brahms or Rachmaninoff. There will be time for that later, and he will be ready for them when that time comes. He was not playing alone, of course. The Plainfield Symphony, an excellent community orchestra, was an able accompanist, and its players seemed to enjoy making music with their young soloist, who was always attentive to the conductor and the ensemble.

The program opened with Rossini’s familiar overture to the opera La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie), a cheerful, lively piece, which gives the orchestra plenty to do without being too taxing. The big work came in the second half – Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. This is a challenging piece even for professionals, and was a stretch for a community orchestra. But the point of a community orchestra, after all, is to give good amateurs (along with a few added professionals) a chance to play major works of this type. There were many sections, which came off beautifully, and although I thought the fast tempo of the last movement pushed the envelope a bit, it was full of energy and power. Charles Prince’s conducting was always clear and precise (you would think that would be a given, but it’s not) and he was not afraid to ask his orchestra to play up to their full potential.

Intonation problems did crop up in the difficult places, and there were some balance issues in the ensemble as a whole. Nonetheless, the players and their audience had a wonderful evening, and it was nice to see an enthusiastic full house in attendance. A community orchestra like this serves an important function, and it is wonderful to see that it has the support of its community.

By | March 17th, 2011|News|Comments Off on Piano Prodigy

Music Rocks

Kennedy Center for the Arts, Millenium Stage
Saturday. July 31. 2010

“Classical Music Rocks!!!”

One more time I want to extend my most heart-felt thanks to the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for injecting some attractive live music in Washington during this culturally lackluster summer. This evening, it was the International Young Artist Piano Competition which was presenting its young prodigies, and when I say young I mean between the ages of 7 and 18. Founded by Li-Ly Chang in 1986, its goal is not only to encourage budding musicians to work on their craft, but also to build a bridge between Western and Eastern cultures. Accordingly, today we heard all Chinese students (or of Chinese descent) performing Western and Chinese pieces.

The seven young artists were appearing on the stage from the youngest to the oldest, and seeing how much of a difference even a couple of years can make was as interesting as astounding. The first pianist was 7-year old Gloria Cai, who was resplendent in her bright red dress and her sparkling silver shoes. Non-plussed by the large audience, she delivered her short Mozart piece with endearing graciousness.

One funny thing to notice was that as the skills became more and more pronounced and nuanced with the performer’s age, and the biographies predictably more impressive, the outfits turned out to be more subtle and sophisticated too, all the way to the delicately bead-embedded black dress donned by 17-year old Sangmi Yoon. Her Capriccio by Li-Ly Chang was fun and infectious.

Among this rainbow of colors (each female musician had a different color dress), 14-year old Michael Mei stood out as not only the only male of the group, but also the most remarkable musician of them all. His treatment of Chopin’s Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise clearly demonstrated solid talent and unflappable poise, and has been one of my summer’s highlights so far.

Kennedy Center reviews from Isabelle

By | July 31st, 2010|News|Comments Off on Music Rocks