Lena Schuman was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and began her music studies at the age of 5. Lena quickly developed into an accomplished pianist, performing with the Azerbaijan Symphony Orchestra multiple times during her teenage years.
Lena graduated from Junior Music College in Baku, before immigrating to the US in 1981 where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Performance and Pedagogy from SFCM. While pursuing her studies, Lena developed a love for teaching and has been raising wonderful young musicians ever since. She excels in mentoring students in solid technical preparation, and is dedicated to building a deep understanding of musical style, form and performance techniques.
Most of all, Lena loves sharing her passion for classical music with her students.
- MM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- BM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording? Why?
Any recording of pianist Gregory Sokolov. He is my favorite artist.
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Traveling, cooking, art and cinema.
Who were your major teachers?
Maria Itskovich, Milton Salkind, Herbert Stessin
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
Articulate! (by Laurette Goldberg)
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
What technical exercises I should do to support my work on any particular piece.
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
When I was offered a teaching assistant position while still a student at SFCM
What was a turning point in your career?
When my students started placing in the top three at various piano competitions
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Bach, Haydn, Rachmaninov.
From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you, and why?
Vienna. 1830 witnessed the intersection of Classical and Romantic periods.
What is your unrealized project?
Learn to speak fluent Italian