Herald Times. Bloomington, Indaina
Third-grader to perform at Carnegie Hall
September 28, 2008
Kailah Young is all shy smiles, nods, shrugs and only very occasional soft-spoken words as she sits on her living room couch in the afternoon sun.
But then she rises and walks over to seat herself at the piano. Suddenly, through her flying fingers on the keys, the Bloomington Montessori School third-grader is speaking volumes.
Gorgeous, expertly rendered sounds soar to the high ceiling, seem to splash the white walls with color and texture, fill every corner of the room.
Very soon, on Oct. 18, the sounds of Kailah soloing on piano will fill up Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Kailah, who turned 8 in August, earned a second-place silver medal a month earlier in level 4 at the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati. The top three finalists in the 12 competition levels earned the chance to play Carnegie Hall.
That is something Kailah’s parents, Mike and Chia Young, hadn’t envisioned when they decided to introduce her to the piano.
“We just wanted to help our kids appreciate and enjoy music,” recalled Chia, who noted Kailah’s 5-year-old sister, Kaitlyn, also is playing piano now. “It wasn’t serious, at all, at first. We didn’t know there would be this sort of development. Kailah was just enjoying it. Her teacher worked at Montessori School and it was once a week.”
Soon, however, it became clear Kailah could play. Her folks then saw information on the Web about the World Piano Competition, noting that several successful performers there in recent years were students of Irina Gorin, who is based in Carmel.
Gorin has taught in Carmel since arriving 15 years ago from her native Ukraine. She has had at least one student make it to Carnegie Hall out of the Cincinnati competition each of the last six years, including Grand Prize-winner Ari Brown of Carmel this year. She is very pleased with Kailah.
“In some sense, Kailah is very mature, despite her age,” Gorin said over the phone from her studio. “Sometimes she surprises me with her maturity and her understanding. But she is also still a little girl, very playful and fun. The two sides complement each other.
“She has a very good potential. She loves to play, which is important. She has that drive to practice. Talent is only one percent of ability, and the other 99 percent is sweat. If you don’t practice, you don’t accomplish. She puts in not just the physical work and time, but also the mental and emotional effort. For someone so young, it’s very special she is able to do that.”
This year’s World Piano Competition, the 46th edition, evaluated 550 applicants from 35 countries, with 150 young people representing 18 countries making it to Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for the Arts.
Asked about her experience there, Kailah said. “A lot of people. It made me nervous.”
Did she think she played well, anyhow?
Her answer this time was a nod and a smile.
Kailah likes playing for her friends and classmates, and not just piano. She is also in Indiana University’s pre-college harp program and has helped promote the International Harp Competition, performing in several grade schools in Bloomington. She still displays her precocious talent on piano periodically at Montessori.
“She’s astonishingly good,” said Kailah’s Montessori teacher, Amy Lifton. “She’s also a wonderful student and a great girl. She’s something of a prodigy on piano, I think. We’re really proud of her.”
Chia recently told Montessori director Viki Thevenow that Kailah was going to play Carnegie Hall, but Thevenow wasn’t sure she’d heard Chia correctly.
“When she said it the first time, I thought I’d misunderstood, and that she meant a hall over at IU or something,” Thevenow said. “When I saw her again (the next day) and she confirmed she indeed was talking about Carnegie Hall and New York City and the realization hit me, well, I was jumping up and down.”
Kailah will play the third movement of Friedrich Kuhlau’s “Sonatina, Opus 20, No. 1, Rondo in C Major,” at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
“What a wonderful thing to happen,” Lifton said, “for a great kid.”
Young pianist is Moscow-bound
February 21st, 2008
When Hannah Carroll got a keyboard for Christmas several years ago, she didn't realize it would lead her to Moscow.
"For Christmas, we went to my aunt's house, and she was giving away keyboards as Christmas presents," said the 12-year-old Westfield girl. "I went home and started playing around with it. I was having so much fun that I asked my parents to take piano lessons. After a while of asking them and asking them, they finally said I could."
Hannah got an old piano from another aunt and began taking classes.
Three and a half years later, she is preparing to compete in an international competition at the Moscow Conservatory in March. She is the only pianist representing the United States in the International Russian Rotary Children Music Competition.
After taking lessons with two different teachers, Hannah began hourlong lessons two to three times a week at Gorin's Music Academy in Carmel. She also practice three hours a day.
Hannah is home-schooled, which she said allows her to balance her schoolwork, piano and chores.
"I practice one hour in the morning and two hours after school," she said. "I enjoy expressing my feelings when I play and just hearing beautiful music and making it myself."
Irina Gorin, Hannah's piano teacher, is helping her prepare for the competition, which will include children ages 8-12 from all over the world. Hannah and Gorin learned about the competition through Tatyana Komarova, the executive director of the International Talent Academy in Carmel. The competition is organized through the Rotary Club, of which Komarova is a member.
To pass the preliminary round, Hannah had to send a 30-minute DVD showing off her piano skills.
"Only 15 kids made it from all over the world," Gorin said. "Only eight are pianists."
Gorin, a native of Ukraine who has taught piano for 26 years, never has had a student participate in this competition.
"She is a very hard-working student," Gorin said. "She was very motivated. She wanted to go to Russia. She is at a very advanced level right now. We started with her three years ago -- not even -- and her progress was so quick I was very surprised. I've never had a student that progressed that fast."
Both Hannah and Gorin know the competition will be tough.
During the first round of the competition, Hannah will play three pieces for up to 15 minutes. If she is among the six students to qualify for the finals, she will play with a Russian orchestra.
Hannah will travel to Moscow with her father, Michael Carroll; Gorin; and Komarova. The International Talent Academy is sponsoring Hannah and paying for most of the group's expenses.
This will be Hannah's first trip outside the United States.
"When I found out I got in, I was really shocked," Hannah said of the competition. "I knew there would be a lot of hard work ahead, so I was kind of hesitant, but I know it will be a lot of fun, an experience of a lifetime. I'm excited about it but a little nervous. We are going to see if I can play at nursing homes, residence centers, anything that can help prepare me."
Call Star reporter Melanie D. Hayes at (317) 444-5538
Four Carmel piano students perform at Carnegie Hall
By Current In Carmel
Four students from Carmel who attend the Gorin’s Music Academy & International Talent Academy ages 8-16 competed last month against their peers from other states in the U.S. and nine other countries.
They performed at Carnegie Hall as winners of the World Piano Competition.
The students are: Hannah Carroll, 11; Hollyn Keith, 8; Rebecca Ito, 12; and Michiru Kikuchi, 12.
The International Talent Academy awarded scholarships to cover plane ticket expenses for the four students. Albert and Jasmine Lee and Jeannie Book helped with donation to the school’s scholarship fund.
Carmel PIANO STUDENTS
HEADED TO CARNEGIE HALL
By Current In Carmel
July 24 2007
Six piano students, including two from Carmel, who study at the Gorin’s Piano Studio and International Talent Academy will be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City this fall.
They earned that honor at the 51st annual World Piano Competition from June 26-30 at Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati. The students are: Hollyn Keith, 8, earned a gold medal in level 1; Emily Xu, 7, earned an honorablemention in level 3; Rebecca Ito, 11, earned agold in level 4; Michiru Kikuchi, 11, earned a silver in level 4; Jennifer Lee, 9, earned an honorable mention in level 8; and Hannah Carroll, 11, earned a bronze in the concerto division of level 9. Emily and Michiru live in Carmel.
They were among more than 200 students age 17 and under from the United States and other countries (China, Japan, Canada, Romania, India, Venezuela, South Korea, and Thailand) to participate in Cincinnati.
International Talent Academy is looking for sponsors to send the young artists to New York. It will cost about $1,500 to cover the plane tickets for three families. To help, call 815.9381, e-mail Tatyana_@InternationalTalentAcademy.org.
For more information, go to
October 14, 2006
Competition offers opportunity for hard-working young pianists to see . . .
By Melanie D. Hayes
Hannah Carroll practices two hours every day. That dedication paid off when she won a gold medal in the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati in July.
Hannah, 10, Westfield, is one of several kids from Carmel and the surrounding area who placed well at the competition and earned a chance to play in a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Sisters Irina Gorin and Ada Shebanova each run their own private piano schools in Carmel and had nine students claim top honors in their levels at the competition. The competition included 200 students from Grades K-12, divided into categories based on experience, Gorin said.
As a reward, five of the students traveled to New York to play at Carnegie Hall on Sept. 30.
Those students were Hannah, a home-schooled student; Sayuka Minami, 10, an Orchard Park student who won second place; Yoko Iwase, 11, a Prairie Trace student who won second; Jeffrey Cheng, 9, a student at Sycamore School in Indianapolis who won second; and Michiru Kikuchi, 11, a College Wood student who earned honorable mention.
Other students who placed well but chose not to make the trip to New York were Chelsea Dai, 6, a Prairie Trace student who won second place; and Yue Jiang, 15, a Carmel High School student who won second in the concerto division.
Brittany Todd, 11, a student at Clay Junior High School, and Alex Huang, 8, both earned an honorable mention. Alex's school was not available.
Yue has placed well the last three years at the world competition and played at Carnegie Hall the first two years. He has been playing piano for eight years.
"It was nice," he said of performing on the famous stage. "It was an honor. It was exciting, and I wasn't all that nervous because I knew the piece pretty well."
Hannah, who has been taking piano lessons for two years, was both scared and excited to play at Carnegie Hall. The solo she performed was Sonatina in A Minor by Albert Biehl.
"I said a Bible verse to myself when I was waiting, and my mom and dad talked to me and comforted me," she said about how she prepared for the recital. "That helped. Carnegie Hall was a very beautiful, beautiful place. It was a nice experience to play there."
Gorin, 42, who teaches 50 students at Gorin's Piano Studio, has had students win at the World Piano Competition for three years straight and then perform in New York.
"Those kids work really, really hard," said the Ukraine native, who has been teaching piano for 10 years in Carmel.
"It's a huge honor to play at Carnegie Hall. It's a very festive atmosphere with kids from eight countries."
Hamilton County. Carmel. August 30, 2006
Brain train. By Traci Cumbay
Early childhood development is goal of fledgling talent academy.
The brain operates on a use-it-or-lose-it basis, and educator Tatyana Komarova wants to make sure children are using it while their brains are developing most rapidly (before age 6) so they don't lose it as they become adults.
She's working to establish the International Talent Academy in Carmel to fill a void she sees in early childhood development and arts education.
Komarova is joining forces with Irina Gorin, who runs a successful piano studio in Carmel - six of her students received highest honors at the World Piano Competition in July and will perform at Carnegie Hall in September. The business partners want to create an academy that stresses performing arts but includes an early childhood development arm (for children as young as 6 months) and a parents academy, which would provide skills and information to help parents understand and guide their children.
"Parents are always the best teachers," Komarova said. "They know their children's strengths, unique interests and potential. I want to teach parents the importance of early child education and inspire them to get started early. I'm not talking about a traditional classroom setting - the key is learning through play."
Komarova holds bachelor's degrees in music education and theater and has a master's in executive development for public services. She has worked for the past several years on building programs for pedagogy. Her mission is to make use of the spongy capacity for learning that young children's brains have.
"The earlier children start learning, the greater their future potential," Komarova said.
Her inspiration came from a book, "How To Teach Your Baby To Read," by Glenn Doman. Komarova used Doman's technique to start teaching her daughter to read when she was a year old, and the experience encouraged her to delve further into the ins and outs of brain development.
Now she's combining what she has long known about the benefits of performing arts with her research to make sure young children get the most out of their early years, when their brains are highly receptive to education.
Programs at the academy include dance, music, theater, visual arts, gymnastics and etiquette. A broad early education that includes movement and music gives children a sure foundation for future learning, according to Komarova, who moved to Carmel six years ago and feels the area is ripe for her school.
"There's not enough opportunity for students to excel in all that the arts offer," Komarova said. "We'll be offering all these classes in one location so parents don't have to run from place to place taking their children to music, theater, dance or art classes all over town. Our academy will encourage families to spend more time learning together."
Komarova's vision is for an academy whose very name becomes shorthand for quality arts education: "I want universities to recognize that the International Talent Academy is a world-class institution," she said, "and to recognize that our graduates have superior education in the arts."
Youths get to Carnegie Hall.
5 city students play so well
that they'll perform in NYC
By Holly VanSlambrook, Star correspondent
July 16, 2004
Stubbs, 17, (left) works on a piece with her teacher,
Irina Gorin. Four of Gorin's students, including Stubbs,
will perform Oct. 30 at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie
Hall in New York City. -- Jae S. Lee / The Star
Christen Stubbs' fingers flow along glistening black and
white piano keys, and her upper body sways with nuances that
help her interpret Debussy's "Arabesque."
Her teacher, Irina Gorin, offers gentle, frequent guidance
from an adjacent seat in her Carmel home studio, reminding
Stubbs to relax a shoulder, lighten her touch and bring out
the melody of the piece during a half-hour lesson this week.
Stubbs, 17, is among four of Gorin's students, ages 9-17,
who earned national honors and the right to perform at New
York City's Carnegie Hall in October.
Others are Eriko Sese, 17, Jason Jiang, 13, and Brittany
Also going is 11-year-old grand prize winner JingXuan Zhang,
taught by Ada Shebanova, who is Gorin's sister.
The students and both teachers live in Carmel.
More than 150 students 17 and under from the United States
and five other countries participated in the 48th annual World
Piano Competition from July 2-5 at Aronoff Center for the
Arts in Cincinnati.
JingXuan, a sixth-grader at Creekside Middle School in Carmel,
won the competition's grand prize, becoming the youngest person
in the association's history to do so.
In addition to American entrants in the contest sponsored
by the American Music Scholarship Association Inc., students
from Canada, China, Japan, Poland and Romania also competed.
Of those, 51 earned finalist rankings and are headed for
"I'm excited, but kind of sad, too, since I'll probably
never get to taste this again," said Sese, a Brebeuf
Jesuit Preparatory School senior.
After age 17, players must enter adult competition, which
is more difficult.
Stubbs, who is home-schooled, was Gorin's first American
student after the Ukrainian-born piano teacher emigrated to
Carmel with her husband, Myron, and son, Eugene, then 3, in
1994. Stubbs started lessons in 1995.
Stubbs and Gorin met through a Carmel piano tuner Bob Staley, who was
acquainted with both. That launched a full schedule of students
for Gorin and a passion for music for Stubbs.
"It's another world for me, a place I can go to let
everything out," Stubbs said.
Gorin gives some teaching duties to advanced students such
as Stubbs, who teach private lessons and monthly group theory
classes to beginners.
It's a practice Gorin learned as a young student in Kiev,
where she started teaching private students at age 15.
"I realized I knew so much better how to play when I
taught. You go back to the basics with little kids,"
Stubbs teaches nine students, including Carmel residents
Micah and Rebecca Ito, ages 6 and 8, who attend The Oaks Academy
in Indianapolis in second and fourth grades, respectively.
"It's been a wonderful journey," said Kirk Ito,
"She's very organized, loves the piano and loves to
help others. There's that gentle coaxing, but she keeps the
joy in it."
Ito, a 1990 graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago
and cultural awareness consultant for Toussaint and Company,
Indianapolis, applauds Gorin's efforts.
"She's a modern day classic example of what makes this
country great," he said.
"She multiplies herself by helping her students learn