By Lindsey McCarthy
On Feb. 7, the Academic Music Program Faculty Concert Series presented its first concert of the spring semester, featuring pianist Elina Christova.
Christova is originally from Bulgaria, and at age nine, she began playing the piano after moving to Vienna, Austria. “I practiced every free minute I had,” she said, “and I’ve been making music ever since.”
Christova received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the National Music Academy in Bulgaria then went on to receive her master’s and doctoral degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed in various places throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, Germany, and Bulgaria.
When she is not teaching the Music in America course at Sacred Heart University, she is teaching privately at her home. “As a freelancer it can get a little stressful, but being a musician is my life, and I wouldn’t want to change a thing,” said Christova.
She has developed a routine when preparing for a performance. “I have been focusing more on performing the last few years, so five to six hours a day go towards practicing,” said Christova.
The pieces featured included The Scriabin sonatas, Mompou pieces, as well as work from Vladigerov, which is a combination of popular Bulgarian folk songs. “I chose this piece because it’s a grand finish to the concert and takes me back to my roots, even when I’m so far away from home,” said Christova.
Prof. William Finley used to conduct the Yale Russian choir and looked forward to Christova’s performance. “She is one of the finest pianist around and we’re fortunate enough to have her here at the university,” said Finley.
The next major performance she will be featured in is at an international event in Serbia at the end of June.
“I will be representing Sacred Heart with my participation at the World Piano Teachers Conference, where I will be preparing a recital program,” said Christova.
Following this event, Christova will be spending time in the studio to record the Scriabin sonatas.
Among the crowd were students, fellow colleagues, and Christova’s family.
“I’m a piano player myself so I came out to hear the music,” said sophomore Jonathan Schores.
Joe Carter, Director of Academic Music Programs, gave insight about what the series is all about.
“We like to feature the academic program faculty,” Carter said. “They can perform by themselves or bring in other artists to perform alongside them.”
Over the past five years the Faculty Concert Series features three to four performances per academic year.
The faculty members are either approached by Carter to do this or ask if they could be featured in that academic year’s concert series. It is up to the featured professor performing to decide which compositions they would like to play for their performance.
The next faculty concert will be on March 14th in the Chapel and will feature Geoffery Fuller, a bass instructor at the University. Alongside him will be guest pianist Christopher Backriges.
The concert to end the semester will feature Carter, playing the guitar, bass, and drums on April 30 for International Jazz Day.