Karlo Begiev, piano teacher, child prodigy, concert pianist
Posted by Wei Min Tan on January 8, 2021
Karlo Begiev was a piano prodigy, concert pianist and currently a highly sought after piano teacher in Manhattan, New York. While most students have piano lessons once a week, Karlo introduces students to piano competitions and this opens up a whole new world of performance and community for the student. We became piano parents and were introduced to the world of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center thanks to Karlo.
Tell us about your music training
My parents noticed I had an affinity for the piano at age 3. Back then I created piano-like toys and pretended to play. I started learning the piano at age 5. At 6, I was accepted to the prestigious Z. Paliashvili Central Music School For Gifted Children. My teacher was from Liszt’s lineage. For college, I attended the Tbilisi State Conservatory where I graduated with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
What are your notable accomplishments professionally?
After graduation, I joined the Georgia Philharmonic and performed as a soloist, as part of a chamber and also in orchestra. Internationally, I performed in Hungary and East Germany. In those days under the Soviet Union, it was difficult to travel abroad for political reasons and that limited the chances for more international performances.
Tell us about your teaching experience
I have taught at both my alma maters, the Tbilisi State Conservatory and the Z. Paliashvili Central Music School For Gifted Children. At the Tbilisi Conservatory, I was a professor and dean of students. After a few years of teaching in Georgia, I came to the U.S. under the Extraordinary Talent visa category and became a piano teacher. I was also a concert pianist while in the U.S. and have performed in Boston, the most classical music focused city in America. In New York, I taught at the Julliard School and currently teach at Marymount High School and Florentine Music School.
Tell us about recitals and piano competitions
We have piano recitals a few times a year. This is where students get to perform in front of other students and parents. A great way to build confidence and foster camaraderie. For example, Florentine has an annual Christmas recital while I have an annual recital for students at one of the music halls in Manhattan.
For students wanting to go to the next level, they can participate in piano competitions. Students get exposed to a higher level of pianists and to the piano competition community. In New York City, my students have participated in and won competitions organized by Rondo Young Artists, International Music Organization and International Music and Arts Society. Students perform at auditions and winners get to perform at top music halls such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Internationally, my students have been invited to Austria and Switzerland to play at gala concerts for gifted children which take place at a royal palace and attended by European royalty.
What is your recommendation for someone thinking about taking up piano?
Everyone is gifted and can learn. If you are thinking about learning, just do it. Learning the piano builds discipline and focus in students.
Piano is a complex and the most well rounded instrument. In most other instruments there is only one row of notes. But with piano, there are two rows of notes – one for the right hand and one for the left. A pianist also needs to press the pedals with the right foot. The whole body is involved when playing the piano. Only a conductor does more than a pianist, but a conductor does not do actual playing.
Learning the piano teaches discipline, focus and is a great way to relax when you can transfer your emotions into music.