My Path to Becoming a Pianist,
Full of Challenges and Miracles
I was born and raised in Juiz de Fora, a town in southeastern Brazil. A career in music was not figuratively placed into my cradle. My family is very poor, both of my parents are illiterate, and my sister has Down syndrome. My mother sang Protestant religious songs, and that accompanied me from my first breath. She was a member of a religious group that soon became attentive of me since I soaked up everything musical like a sponge.
I had music lessons, learned how to read notes, and was allowed to play the violin which they provided for me in the orchestra. The organ caught my attention and interest much more, but it was exclusively played by women. So, when playing the violin, I expanded it with movements from my feet, pressing imaginary pedal—which of course, no one understood.
When I was eight years old, I saw Vladimir Horowitz on a neighbor’s television. Electrified, I decided that I also wanted to play on a grand piano. But how? My grandfather had an old work bench, so I drew a keyboard on it and I began to play, in my mind, the songs I knew from church service.
When I was thirteen, I learned there was a music school in the city. I befriended the cleaning ladies and the security guards, and they allowed me—the school mouse—to secretly use the piano. Playing on that piano was pure pleasure!
One day the principle caught me and banned me from the premises. A friend of mine had the idea to introduce me to his teacher, the famous music professor, André Pires. I gathered the courage and asked if I could play for him. Afterwards, he asked me who my teacher was. “He is sitting in front of you,” was my reply. Dumbfounded, he offered to teach me for three months, free of charge; that turned into three years, and to this day we still have a wonderful friendship.
During this time I learned the classic piano repertoire, Haydn, Bach, Villa-Lobos, Chopin, and Rachmaninow, among others. I was especially captivated by German Romanticism. Again, I autodidactically taught myself the language with the desire to continue my studies in Germany.
Love brought me to Hamburg. And once again, I met people who supported me. In the meantime, I have earned my bachelor’s degree with distinction at the University of Arts in Bremen and am on my way to earning my master’s degree.
Through the magic of music, I would like to pass on the gifts that life has granted me. It can help to overcome the boundaries between social classes and peoples. And I would like to be able to support my family through my music, with the deepest gratitude for my mother. Her unshakable love gave me the power to overcome diverse challenges.