Gager concert set for Sunday

| September 16, 2015

Anna Billias

Sweet Briar College will present a recital by pianist Anna Billias and soprano Alina Kirshon Goldman as part of its Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert series at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, in Memorial Chapel. The concert, which will feature works by Russian and German composers, is free and open to the public.

Billias is an assistant professor of music and director of piano studies and collaborative performance at Sweet Briar. She has performed in numerous concerts at Sweet Briar, Hampden-Sydney College, Lynchburg College, Liberty University, Randolph College, James Madison University, London, Partenit and Donestk, Ukraine, and in Lynchburg for fundraising events for the Forte Chamber Music Festival and the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra. She has been invited to judge CVMTA competitions and is a frequent jurist for musical events in Amherst, Lynchburg and Charlottesville. In 2010, she premiered a performance of Joelle Wallach’s “Daughters of Silence.”

Billias was trained as a concert pianist at the Prokofiev State Academy of Music in Donetsk, Ukraine (originally the Prokofiev Conservatory of Music), and graduated with advanced degrees in both performance and instruction for piano. During her time there, she performed with the school’s symphony orchestra as a featured soloist and frequent accompanist throughout the Donetsk Oblast. Billias was invited to perform in Paris for the International Music Forum in the fall of 1997, and was a prizewinner in the Prokofiev International Piano Competition in 1995, competing against pianists from across Europe.

Billias is currently attending the Shenandoah Conservatory to pursue her D.M.A. in piano performance. In her spare time, she serves as the music director at a local church and runs a growing private piano studio. She is also the proud mother of three musically gifted children and a “supportive, but not musically talented husband.”

At Sweet Briar, Billias teaches the rudiments of music, applied piano, vocal performance technique, senior seminar, concert and chamber choir, and recital classes.

Billias has performed many times with Alina Kirshon Goldman, a student and performer of music for more than 25 years. Kirshon Goldman graduated with bachelor’s and master’s of music degrees from Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Israel. In addition to pursuing a doctoral degree in voice performance at Shenandoah Conservatory, Kirshon Goldman has been teaching private voice, viola and violin lessons to middle- and high school students and adults in Northern Virginia since 2010.

She has participated in workshops and master classes offered by world-renowned artists such as Tabea Zimmermann (viola), Atar Arad (viola), soprano Katia Ricciarelli and soprano Hilde Zadek, and has performed in several music festivals and competitions in Europe and the United States. Her accolades include numerous awards and scholarships, among them the America Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship and the Paul Robeson Vocal Competition in Washington, D.C.

The Janet Lowrey Gager Community Concert series is made possible by the support of Forrest Gager, in memory of his wife, Janet, who served as Sweet Briar’s director of public relations. For more information about the concert, please email Billias at [email protected] or call (434) 381-6491.

Category: Music