From Kyiv to Toulouse, piano remains a passion for these Ukrainian children

After fleeing the war in their country, the three Valentina children finished their year at the Toulouse Conservatory to continue their passion.

Lada, just 12, who shares her long blonde hair with her mother, plays a traditional Ukrainian piano tune that she knows like the back of her hand. Then, his little brother, Radomir, and little sister, Yaroslava, played a piece under the eyes of their mother, Valentina.

The siblings joined the Toulouse Conservatory last May to continue playing and advancing their favorite instrument: the piano. A merger that arose thanks to a call for more aid for refugees, in our columns last March, launched by a retired couple they welcomed.

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This call enabled children to take piano lessons every Saturday afternoon at the Conservatory. Gavnov, a Ukrainian-born piano teacher at the conservatory, takes care of them. “I was overwhelmed and moved by their story,” she says. For children who do not speak French, the young woman has created a bond of trust by giving lessons in their mother tongue.

Music is a way to escape

At the age of four and a half, Radomyr, Yaroslava and Lada began their first lessons and then entered a music school in Ukraine. Life is turned upside down by the bombs and the conflict plunged into the swamp, the family decides to leave Kyiv to take refuge in France. After the retired couple welcomed the family, the family was housed by relatives in the suburbs of Toulouse. Now with an electric piano, young pianists dedicate themselves to the practice of strict and regular music. Equipment that allows them to continue lessons by videoconference with their teachers who have remained in kyiv. “The piano is their life, it is really vital,” their mother Valentina confidently said.
Gavnov, their new teacher at the conservatory gives them the human connection they need. In just three weeks, the little prodigies learned the piece they played on Thursday. “I am impressed by their level,” replies Jean-Luc Modinek, the mayor of Toulouse who attended their concert. An impression shared by their teacher congratulating them: “We’re lucky to have them, it’s a musical exchange and they’ve made really good progress.”

Starting this summer, the kids will be joining their father and husband Valentina in Paris. A passion that may continue at the capital’s conservatory.

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