Faina Podolnaya, a private violin instructor in Ashland, OR, had a dream to lead a group of her best students to perform at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Podolnaya, born in a small village in the Ukraine, began playing violin herself at the age of 7. Though her family was not musical and she was not very interested at first, her parents encouraged her to continue, for which she is now very thankful. Ms. Podolnaya earned a Diploma in Music Studies from Konotop School, a Bachelor's Degree in Music and Teaching from Karaganda College of Music; and a Master's Degree in Music Teaching and Performance from the Kazakhstan State University.
She was the leading violin teacher at the most prestigious music school in Kazakhstan, former republic of the USSR, the Music College for Gifted Children of Almaty State Conservatory. In addition, she was Dean of the Music Department in Prokofiev Music School in Almaty (the capital of Kazakhstan) for a number of years. Also included among her honors are the Excellence of Teaching medal from the government of Kazakhstan and her selection as Soviet Union Laureate Teacher of the Year.
Ms.Podolnaya's student soloists and ensembles in Kazakhstan took first prizes in numerous high- level international competitions. Some of her students were granted green cards in the US for being outstanding violinists. Ms. Podolnaya also travelled with her students, performed and lectured in many music schools in Kazakhstan.
Ms. Podolnaya came to the US in 1999, to be reunited with her family. She settled in Ashland, Oregon, where she started a small private music studio for violin and viola students. Her stellar teaching skills soon placed her services in high demand once more. Since opening her studio in the US, increasing numbers of her students have become professional musicians. Many have entered professional music schools, and have become soloists and symphony players throughout the world.
Ms. Podolnaya has served since 2000 as Associate Conductor of the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon (YSSO). 15 of her students have won the YSSO solo concerto competitions and have played as soloists with the YSSO. She was also a violin instructor at Southern Oregon University for four years, and there is usually a waiting list to secure a spot among her private students.