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MED-EL musicians are worldwide!

The International Piano Festival by People with Disabilities is an annual worldwide piano festival that celebrates the musical successes of people with disabilities. This year, we’re excited to announce that 5 of the 44 competitors are members of our own MED-EL family! The festival begins on November 14, 2013, but we wanted to use this opportunity to introduce these five pianists so that you can learn more about them and wish them on towards success.

MED-EL Musicians at the International Piano Festival by People With Disabilities

Daniyil Danilov

Daniyil (b. 2003, Ukraine) has been around music for longer than he has been alive. While his mother was pregnant with Daniyil she would play the piano to him every day. Unfortunately, after birth it seemed as if he would never himself play: a premature birth caused complications including congenital deafness and his first 10 days were spent in a coma. However, Daniyil persevered: hearing aids helped him to play the piano together with his mother in his first year, and after receiving a cochlear implant at age 2 he began playing on his own.

MED-EL Musicians at the International Piano Festival by People With Disabilities

Anamaria Nastase

Anamaria (b. 2005, Romania) has with cochlear implants built an award-winning history of piano performances. She received sequential bilateral implants before age 3, and at age 5 started piano lessons to build an understanding of music and rhythm. After four months of practice Anamaria entered her first piano competition and won first prize. In May, 2011, she got her very own piano so that she could practice at home and since then has competed in 10 competitions and won four first prizes, one second prize, and five special-recognition prizes.

MED-EL Musicians at the International Piano Festival by People With Disabilities

Amy Pottharst

Amy (b. 2002, USA) was born deaf but has always been fascinated by the piano. She spent her first years banging on the keys with her sister, and after receiving sequential bilateral cochlear implants by age 4 she started taking formal piano lessons. As she progressed in school she added the marimba to her abilities and often plays marimba-piano duets with her younger brother Danny.

MED-EL Musicians at the International Piano Festival by People With Disabilities

Malgorzata Strycharz-Dudziak

Malgorzata (b. 1976, Poland) began studying in a music school in the town of Lublin, Poland, at the age of 7. She began losing hearing at age 13 and was completely deaf by 16, but after receiving two cochlear implants she was able to re-enter the world of music that she had known and loved. Soon she was able to play during CI conferences organized by her surgeon, Professor Skarzynski, including a performance at the Warsaw Philharmonic. Now, Malgorzata spends her time playing piano for fun and working in the Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics at the Medical University of Lublin.

MED-EL Musicians at the International Piano Festival by People With Disabilities

Yuko Kamachi

Yuko (b. 1995, Japan) finds playing the piano to be a healing process. She was born deaf, but during her first twelve years tried using hearing aids to help her hear the music that she was reading. Although these sounds were difficult to hear, she persevered. After she received cochlear implants at age 13, she could hear the full range of sounds that she was playing for the first time. This has helped Yuko to develop her repertoire by learning new and unfamiliar pieces, building her self-confidence and win the silver prize in a high school piano competition.

We’ll keep you in touch as it gets closer to the competition, but until then: do you have a hearing implant and play music? Let us know your story with a comment below!

Update: here’s a video that shows what it was like at the International Piano Festival by People With Disabilities!

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