MAY 2015

Dear Friend - 

This newsletter is the exclamation mark at the end of our 2014-2015 season.  I feel  a deep sense of accomplishment for having fulfilled our mission, and having brought enjoyment to so many.

Although this kind of letter customarily begins with numbers and asks for your support, allow me instead to start with a story.

For a week in April, I spent probably 20  hours in my car with 4 young Piano Slam poets. Natalie, Daisha, Kay-Ann and Alize had never met even though they all live and attend public schools within a few miles from each other.  It was music that brought them, and us, together. 

Why did I spend so much time in the car ? I was driving them to Piano Slam rehearsals, and  the mind-boggling traffic in our magic city created plenty of time for conversation. The girls talked about boys ("they have no interest in studying and learning");  about Key Club, Silver Knight Award, Advanced Placement classes;  about who you can go to for advice; about sharing mutual advice. About their provenance - Haiti, Jamaica, Miami. About body image. About a mother who is uncomfortable leaving the house; about a father who has a job that is completely unpredictable; about wanting to attend a historically black college to experience the shared connection; about a poetry club and how much some teachers are committed to that passion.  About drug addicts. Self-reflection: "Sometimes I get very insecure and I have to remind myself of what I have accomplished.  It helps me when I feel not sure.  And then people think I am arrogant."  Science and words. How to see more of their city, more of the world. Leadership and fundraising. Hair. Scholarships. Police brutality. Professions. Lyrics and songs that are meaningful.  Music. Always music.

Music is a "cluster of sounds that have vanished into the air and will never be heard in the same way again. " (On Writing Well, William Zinsser).  Well, these young women, along with eight others and three young gentlemen, all finalists of Piano Slam 7, have used poetry to shape those clusters of sound into images and given resonance to those images with their spoken words.

"I am glad that I am not alone in my effort of climbing
On the backs of giants to reach the sky
And exit  this dome of a world we call home
Because in this long,
Lonely walk
We have all encountered one another
And at the end
We will have all made it there
And be able to collapse and fall into the hands of giants
And be lifted into the sky
Becoming one with galaxies
Alize Davis, Miami Norland Senior High

This year brought about two new collaborations.  First, a partnership with Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). It exists in part because the mission of Piano Slam aligns with the goal of their outreach program. It is a way to get into to consciousness and hearts of students.  Most students, in fact, the general citizenry of Miami, are not aware of its very existence right on Key Biscayne. We make it possible for them to reach thousands of students. And they make it possible for us to broaden participation in Piano Slam and thus to bring our music and our artists to a broader audience.  This is one way Piano Slam serves the mission of the Dranoff. 

In May, another new partnership:  the Coral Gables Art Cinema and the Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation jointly presented a friend and fund raising event. Duo Stephanie & Saar played  music by the great composers Gershwin, Shostakovich and Debussy, accompanied by movie images and film. They  also performed  Fantasias de tres mundos by the  first Bacardi Choice  composer, Martin Bejerano who skyped in from Japan for a few minutes to help introduce the second Bacardi Choice  composer, Manuel Valera. It was so much fun, we look forward to do this again next season. 

The past season was the most extensive in our history.  The efforts of our Artistic Director, Erik Ochsner, and our Executive Director, Carlene Sawyer, with the help of Luis Rodriguez, our Arts Administrator,  deserve our fullest appreciation and applause.  They set out to fulfill the mission of the Dranoff. They succeeded. Thank you! My appreciation goes also to the Dranoff board members, each of whom has contributed their passion and their support toward the goal of the organization. And my personal, profound thanks to the many of you who have been our supporters, sponsors and partners.  You have become friends!

Join the others who have invested in the Dranoff and know that you support a unique and valuable asset in our community.   Please invest in the Dranoff now to secure our future. Become partner to our mission and a part of our discoveries. 

Let music brings us together!

Gabriele Fiorentino
President, Dranoff Board



Steinway & Sons World Federation of Int'l Music Competition The Dranoff Twitter The Dranoff Facebook