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Willanny Darias · About

Willanny Darias

Willanny Darias

PianistNew York, United States
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Biography

Willanny Darias (born 1993 in Havana, Cuba) graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in NYC with a Bachelor (2014) and a Master of Music (2016) in Classical Piano Performance, where she studied with Dr. Solomon Mikowsky as a full scholarship student. Her first solo CD containing music of Schumann and Berg as well as four living composers from Cuba will be released in late 2016 by RYCY Productions.

Recent performances include: an appearance with Cuba’s National Symphonic Orchestra and recitals and performances in Los Angeles (U.S.), Frankfurt (Germany), New York (U.S.), Samos (Greece) and Havana (Cuba). In New York she has also performed at the Juilliard School, the Kosciusko Foundation and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Her New York City Debut was on February 24th, 2015, at the Americas Society on Park Avenue. This recital was the opening night for the Cuban Culture Festival New York and she had a full house. In 2015-2016 she did a one-semester exchange at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart in Germany, where she studied with pianist Kirill Gerstein.

Willanny is also active as a collaborative pianist, performing in recitals and festivals with both string and wind instruments, as well as doing collaborations with larger ensembles. Her wide musical interests led her to study and analyze many operas by Wagner, Strauss, Berg and Britten, as well as briefly study harpsichord, orchestration and conducting. At the Manhattan School of Music she was coached by Lucie Robert, Nicholas Mann, Paul Cohen and André-Michel Schub in chamber music, Raymond Beegle in Vocal Accompanying, Kent Tritle in Choir and Jocelyn Stewart in Baroque Accompaniment.

In August 2016 she opened a bilingual blog where she writes articles giving advice to musicians, which can be found at musicamental.com. In October and November 2016 she participated in the Aurora Music Festival in Sweden where she performed chamber music and was part of the premiere of Leif Segerstam’s Symphony no.305.

Willanny is also currently fundraising to provide clean water to people in need with a 100-day piano practice challenge through the charity:water organization. Her fundraiser can be found at https://my.charitywater.org/willanny/practice-piano-for-clean-water

Darias began her piano studies in Cuba at age 4 with Rosalía Capote and was trained in Solfège from age 5 with Lucía Varona. At 7, she began studying at the Escuela Elemental de Música Manuel Saumell with Hortensia Upmann and made her first-ever public performance at the Teatro Amadeo Roldán.

She had her symphonic debut at 13 with Mozart's Piano Concerto no.12 in A major. At 14, Russian pedagogue Dr. Stanislav Pochekin invited her to the Music and Dance summer course held in Andorra.

She was later accepted into Cuba's Escuela Nacional de Arte, where she studied Piano with Dr. Teresita Junco, and Harmony and Musical Analysis with Dr. Iliana García. That same year, she performed Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Cuba’s Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, conducted by Mexican maestro Eduardo Sanchez Zuber - who later invited her to tour in Mexico with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Michoacán, with a final performance at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl (Mexico City).

In 2010 she won first prize at the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC) Piano Competition, Cuba’s most prominent national classical music event, and was awarded all special mentions and recognitions by the jury, becoming the youngest performer ever to win this competition.

Her other awards include five grand and first prizes in national and provincial contests held in Cuba; First Prize at the Maracaibo International Piano Competition (Venezuela); First Prize at the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in New York; and Fourth Prize at the Panama International Piano Competition in Panama City. You can find some of her performances on video and audio by going to willadarias.com.

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