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Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Anna Goryacheva of Elite Piano Institute Is Helping To Change Our World

An Interview With Edward Sylvan

… Every challenge provides learning opportunities and unique experiences that eventually help break boundaries in any field you choose. Don’t be afraid of your dreams, set big goals, work hard, and move forward no matter what, as a fear of failure is a great excuse to stay in a comfort zone. I can assure you that once you overcome any challenges, you will not only achieve a breakthrough in the field of your choice but also make a significant impact in the lives of others.

As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anna Goryacheva.

Anna Goryacheva is an award-winning pianist, recording artist, educator, and entrepreneur. LA Weekly magazine described her as an “acclaimed soloist of exceptional talent.” Being an extraordinary educator, she founded Elite Piano Institute — a piano school and educational project famous for coaching music teachers and training pianists in America and abroad. In 2021 Anna was included in the Brainz Magazine global list of 500 entrepreneurs, influential leaders, educators, and business owners worldwide recognized for their success and achievements.

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?

Thank you so much for having me!

I was exposed to various arts from a very early age — music, theater, pop culture, television — I was growing up surrounded by an artistic atmosphere. I began my professional music studies at the age of seven at the Special Music School for gifted children in Kaliningrad — my beautiful hometown on the Baltic Sea, right in the heart of Europe. At the age of nine, I made my orchestra debut abroad — in the concert tour in Hungary — and later appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout Europe. Constant performing, competing, and meeting famous people from the classical music world were inspiring and convinced me to dedicate my life entirely to a musical career.

To pursue my passion for music, in 2011, I moved to Los Angeles to attend USC, where I graduated with a Master of Music and the Artist Diploma in Piano Performance. Moving to Los Angeles was the best decision I have ever made. I learned a lot through challenging times and gained unique knowledge and experience, which helped me grow professionally and enabled me to create my brand Elite Piano Institute.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or takeaway you took out of that story?

The most profound story that occurred to me in my career is moving to the United States. I have applied for the Artist Diploma Performance program at USC and got a letter of acceptance — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — I could not believe what had just happened. Suddenly, I found myself in a predicament. I wasn’t ready to move overseas that soon and leave everything behind — my family, friends, professional surroundings, and my comfort zone of everyday routine. It seemed like I was taking a huge leap of faith because I had to close one door to open the new door to my dream. I knew I would not fully realize my potential and become the best version of myself, staying in a comfort zone, so I decided to take this risk and start my professional journey all over. Ten years ago, I moved to the United States without a dollar in my pocket and barely understood English. Today I am the founder of two ventures — Elite Piano Institute and Piano Bloom.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Every challenge provides learning opportunities and unique experiences that eventually help break boundaries in any field you choose. Don’t be afraid of your dreams, set big goals, work hard, and move forward no matter what, as a fear of failure is a great excuse to stay in a comfort zone. I can assure you that once you overcome any challenges, you will not only achieve a breakthrough in the field of your choice but also make a significant impact in the lives of others.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

One person that I would always cherish and be grateful for is my mother, who has been my biggest support system. No matter what, she always believed in me and gave me the confidence to become who I am today.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?

Aside from running my piano school Elite Piano Institute, it is essential for me to inspire and empower my colleagues and other artists to grow and believe in their dreams. This is why I created Piano Bloom — the online community which assists music educators and aspiring music coaches who aim to grow their business and confidence. Its primary mission is to motivate, support, and help ambitious music teachers to unleash their potential and transform their lives.

Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Music teachers are some of the most influential people that help elevate and advance the industry. Yet, despite that, music educators remain to be the most under-recognized group of professionals. For years, it has been believed that music teachers have to stay quiet and modest. Being unseen and unknown became a norm in our niche. Nowadays, the classical music world is highly competitive. Less than 15% of music educators have profitable businesses, and only 2% are successful; Through my community, I help music educators build essential skills to achieve professional growth and success.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

Well, there is more than just one person impacted by Elite Piano Institute and Piano Bloom. Over the past two years, I’ve helped over 100 music teachers grow their online presence, credibility and build lives they love through my community, mentorship, and Bloom VIP services. The fact that I can make an impact is truly unique for me. It motivates people around me and serves as a driving factor for me as a musician.

When it comes to Elite Piano institute — it is already well known for its projects. My team and I produce international piano festivals and competitions, organizing musical events, recitals, master classes, and music workshops. Having strong connections in the piano industry, we partner with the leading music festivals and competitions around the globe, creating unique performance opportunities for young pianists and helping their talent to get discovered.

Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

I believe that raising awareness of classical music is highly important in a modern community. Although our society shares equal cultural values with Europe, the lack of government support is very noticeable in areas like high-quality performances, schools, and conservatories. As a result — we currently have lower standards in music education. Raising awareness of preserving, promoting, and supporting classical music education and providing more funding on state and federal levels would greatly benefit both the students and educators. The same goes about individual contributions — if you love classical music, consider going to live concerts more often instead of just listening to music on Spotify and Youtube. Please support your local orchestras and ensembles, music schools, concert organizations and spread the word about them.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”

  1. Work harder than anyone you know.
  2. Learn how to do things yourself first before you delegate.
  3. Surround yourself with people more intelligent than you.
  4. Anything is possible if you believe in yourself and go for your dream no matter what.
  5. Always be yourself and have an authentic voice. This is what attracts the right people.

You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

To inspire people to put their excuses aside and do it. Instead of relying on other people and putting the responsibilities on them, learn how to do things yourself first. When I lost my excuses, I found my results.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

Mark Zuckerberg famously said: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing quickly, the only strategy guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” I believe that with taking significant risk often come great opportunities; taking chances are necessary if you strive for more and want to make the most of your life. Being an immigrant, I never expected to grow so much, and I am still amazed by the amount of support I receive each day. I am happy to be able to fulfill my mission as a musical artist and, at the same time, to become a successful business owner of the piano school in Los Angeles. This would never happen if I didn’t take a risk, stayed in a comfort zone, and kept finding excuses.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world or the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I am a massive admirer of Elon Musk and would be honored to meet for a coffee with him. I believe that he is an absolute genius, and I would love to learn from him. He is an inspiration for me in all ways.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank you!

About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color.

In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction.

Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business.

With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.

At Sycamore Entertainment he specializes in print and advertising financing, marketing, acquisition and worldwide distribution of quality feature-length motion pictures, and is concerned with acquiring, producing and promoting films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subject matter which will also include nonviolent storytelling.

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Edward Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group

Edward Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group

Specializing in acquiring, producing and distributing films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subjects

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