Tanya Gabrielian

Tanya Gabrielian: A recital with a mission to help

by Kate Luce

Tanya Gabrielian will demonstrate empowering connections between music and the impacts of mental health in the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance hall in Northside Hall on September 21 at 7 pm.  

Tanya Gabrielian has recently been named Martin Endowed Chair of Piano and will host her debut concert at IU South Bend by performing pieces by Handel-Liszt and Chaconne from Almira, Beethoven, Chopin, Scherzo, Schubert, Andante, and Rondo.  

These composers all faced mental illnesses and expressed them with their music. 

“I do a lot of stuff with mental illness to make the connection to things outside of music to make it have additional relevance. It keeps people interested in music that wouldn’t normally go, and also, vice versa, it can expose that music crowd to things they were not familiar with. Also, issues of mental health are something we all are going to face at some point in our lives,” Gabrielian said. 

The Active Minds IU South Bend Chapter, which is a student organized group that reduces the stigma of mental health and helps provide a support system for mental health within the community, has also been asked to take part in her first recital as well. They will be tabling outside the hallway, providing resources for mental health help. 

In addition to this organization, she partnering with a larger community organization, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) of St. Joseph County, which provides free services and support groups for the surrounding community. The organization will have a table outside of the performance hall with information.  

Gabrielian has been very involved with NAMI over her career. She has spoken at national conferences for NAML and has donated the proceeds of an album to them. Involving them in the concert will help to raise awareness for their cause and to create a positive partnership between music and mental health in the South Bend community. 

“[I wanted] to get their name out there because a lot of people don’t know they exist and a lot of people need their help and don’t have their resources to do that. Also, to expand the scope of what I do on stage. Music feels inherently selfish, that you’re on stage, under a spot light. The audience is in darkness and applauding you when you finish. I have to find a reason to be on stage not so I can just show off what I do, but something greater,” Gabrielian said. 

Gabrielian hopes that this concert will be a good introduction to who she is as an instructor and a community member. 

“Up until now, I have been surviving on performances. Even though this is my first introduction to the South Bend community, it is also another performance. I’m used to that. It is special in the situation, and I hope with every performance, it feels like a one-time opportunity with that exact environment and exact audience,” Gabrielian said. 

Half of the seats are reserved for invited community members. Tickets will be for sale on arts.iusb.edu when the fall calendar is published. 

Student tickets will cost $5 and adult tickets will cost $12-$15. 


See the events calendar for more performances