Yelena Beriyeva, born and raised in the Republic of Georgia, made her first concerto appearance with an orchestra at the age of 5. She has taught classical piano for years and has performed regularly as a recitalist, a chamber musician and a soloist with orchestras all over the world along with winning a number of local and international piano competitions. While Yelena encourages her students to acquire foundational music skills, she also encourages them to develop their musicianship so that they become artists, performers, and innovators of music. She says, “Every student is unique and it takes a certain approach to get that particular student to succeed. As I get to know the student, their musical habits, what they are musically capable of, their musical goals, I discover new ways to approach teaching them. We continually learn together.”
Yelena combines traditional methods and new school approaches to her piano playing, which not only greatly impacts the way she plays, but teaches as well. She explains, “In my homeland, I studied under comparatively strict teachers who encouraged me to master the Russian school of playing. At New England Conservatory, I felt encouraged to develop my own, personal style of performing and teaching. I began developing a pedagogy that mixes elements of both schools, and I found that my students were quite receptive to it.” She also tries to continually engage her students by telling stories that are connected to pieces that they are working on to incorporate some historical aspect.
In addition to teaching at CCM, Yelena has taught at Boston’s New England Conservatory and at Clark University in Worcester. She has taught chamber music ensembles and coached singers as well as instrumentalists. Yelena also has led a performance seminar at Clark University, which focused on the psychological state of a performer and included best practices for preparing for a performance—preventing or dealing with injuries and stage fright, ways to practice, etc.
Yelena received her Bachelor of Music at the Tbilisi State Conservatory and completed two additional years of undergraduate study at the University of Arizona. She then entered New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where she received her Master’s Degree and Graduate Diploma. She was a fellow of the New England Conservatory Community Performance and Partnership Program and the recipient of the Nanna Rose Endowed Scholarship.
Beyond her musical activities, Yelena loves spending time with her dogs and family, playing chess, swimming, and watching criminal shows.