Senior Spotlight 2022: Mariia Portniagina

Name: Mariia Portniagina

Instrument: Piano


How long have you been involved in music?

I have been involved in music since I was 5 years old.


Why is music important to you?

My mom was a teacher of music theory, choir, and piano in Russia. Consequently, I heard my mother play the piano since I was a baby. I also loved to perform- watching TV shows with singers and other musicians always made me stand up and move. That was why my mom was sure that I should go to a music school. Because my mom taught in a Fine Arts school, I began taking some classes there when I was just five years old- I was taking preparatory courses given for future students of this school. There were so many classes, which kept me very busy and did not leave me the time to appreciate all the knowledge I was receiving. I studied at that school until I was a teenager. When I was 13, our family moved to the US, and, at that time, I was not very enthusiastic about piano, so my mom told me that if I did not want to continue playing the piano, I did not have to. After six months of not practicing the piano regularly, I began to feel that something was missing from my life. I realized that it was the music. That was why I started begging my mom to find a music school for me. And my mom did find a school- it was a wonderful place called “The bART Center for Music,” which allowed me to focus on music and everything about it. I was so happy to be back to practicing piano daily and learning music theory. It kept motivating me and motivates me to this day. After that instance, I realized that I could not live without practicing piano and learning more about music.


Tell us about your time at The bART.

The bART helped me stay organized throughout the years and improved my dedication in piano and other studies. It helped me adapt to the music theory system that is exercised in the US since in Russia there was a different music theory system. The bART provided so many opportunities for young musicians of Barthelmes Conservatory to perform, which helped me become confident in my piano playing whenever people were looking at me.


Where will you be going from here?

I am going to go to the University of Oklahoma where I am going to major in Piano Performance because playing music for people is my passion. In the future I want to become a concert pianist.


A message from Mariia:

I want to thank all the teachers of The bART Center for Music and the wonderful program of Barthelmes Conservatory that kept me motivated to advance my piano playing exponentially.

I want to give a special shoutout to my piano teacher, Ms. Lantos, for supporting me and teaching me so many things over these past years at The bART. 

I also want to thank my music theory teachers  . Ms. Anna taught me a lot of interesting facts about music and Mr. Broom made every lesson fun and fascinating- we sang, learned a lot, and laughed.

Also, I want to thank Ms. Ally and Jo for helping me record piano videos for college on their own time.

And I want to thank Ms. Kiersten for always reminding us, the students, about upcoming exams, events, or lessons.