Since childhood, I've been studying music. Music has always opened the door to fairy-tale worlds for me, which in reality, I could not even dream of. Since a young age I’ve always liked to play the piano — to me the MOST wonderful instrument in the world — and since as far back as I remember I would play the melodies and musical fragments that came into my head.
All my life I’ve tried to combine these two specialties (piano and composition), although in our time it is very difficult to make a life in the arts. This year I'm happy to be a part of the community of the Cleveland Institute of Music. I was accepted into the piano studio of Maestro Sergei Babayan, who undoubtedly is one of the greatest pianists of our time. Learning under his guidance is the highest honor imaginable for any piano student! I was also accepted in the composition studio of Dr. Keith Fitch, the chair of the composition department at the CIM.
The cost of training at the CIM is $ 69,404 per year, and the conservatory graciously awarded me a rather generous scholarship — $ 36,000. To make up the difference, in addition to my savings which I earned back in Russia by giving lessons and performances, I was blessed to find a sponsor who believed in me to help financially and my future seemed golden. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, my sponsor just informed me this past week that she is unable to continue her patronage next year. I am now in a panic how to raise the necessary funds to continue my studies for the next academic year.
Unlike many of my peers at the conservatory I am not from a wealthy family but rather from more humble origins. My family consists only of my mother and my grandmother who both live in Russia. They barely have enough for food. We do not have a car, or modern appliances such as a washing machine, and my family home does not even have hot water. I cannot ask them to make any more sacrifices for me and I feel that I should be helping them, but for this I need to finish my degree and to continue my training.
My English teacher suggested, among other ideas, to explore crowdfunding, something I have never heard of before let alone considered. In addition to applying for outside scholarships and arranging work for the summer back home (as I am prohibited under the terms of my student visa in the United States from employment in America) I also decided to reach out to the public with humility hence this heartfelt appeal.
I really hope for your understanding and help! I have attached links to some videos of my performances.
Here is a link to my solo recital at the Mariinsky Theater, where you can find information about me (for December 2016).
Thank you so very much in advance!
- Bella Shteyngarts
- Mila Dunaway
Organizer and beneficiary
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