Balia started teaching the piano a year after she arrived (1948) and used to have yearly concerts at the Peninsula Hotel.
These photos are of those concerts ….
Daddy made the first program by hand – he typed the program out and drew the cover by hand! What a champ 😀
Am just a little confused that dad typed it was Balia’s 4th concert as she only arrived in HK two years earlier.
Perhaps she used to have concerts in Shanghai?
There were a number of Russians who were Balia’s pupils in 1949 – all three Smirnoff kids (Sasha, Laila and Ira), George and Natalia Sokoloff, Michael Koodiaroff, Corinne Ellery, and Helen Zaharoff.
There were quite a few Russian kids in that photo …
(1) Helen Zaharoff
(2) Corrine Ellery
(3) Ira (Irina) Smirnoff
(4) ? Reubens
(5) Michael Koodiaroff
(6) Lois Reubens
(7) Laila (Nina) Smirnoff
(8) Sashka (Alex) Smirnoff
(9) *Colleen Smith
(10) Majorie Revie
The Smirnoff kids were good friends, as was their mother, Nina, who was working at the Peninsula at the time. No doubt she was instrumental in making the ball room available for the concerts.
As you can see at the bottom of the program above, Ira Smirnoff was a pupil of my father’s and they played a duet at the concert.
There were a few more Russian kids who started with Balia, and it was my first concert! Shiver me timbers – brrrrrrrrrrrr!! I still remember what the piece I had to play sounds like and I still tremble at the thought 😀 Such a wimp 😉
(1) Lana Belokopitoff
(2) Sasha Smirnoff
(3) Helen Zaharoff
(4) Nata (Natalie) Rodney
(5) Laura Gabriel
(6) Katusha (Katherine) Huber
(7) Chucha (Anna) Yatskin
(8) *Colleen Smith
(9) John Huber
(10) *Sylvia Picciotto
There was just one new Russian pupil in this year, that being Barbara Gabriel 🙂
Little Barbara was the newest addition to Balia’s group of pupils and I think she ended up being one of the last to leave!
I’m pretty sure all the girls were instructed to curtsy to the audience and the boys had to give a small bow. Back in those days we were taught to show courtesy to the audience 😀
The photo on the right was taken after the concert – it shows Laura Gabriel at the head of the table closest to the photographer, then from L-R: Mr Gabriel, Nina Smirnoff, Ida Close, Balia and a White Russian friend whose name escapes me, Laura & Barbara’s grandfather, Barbara and Mrs Gabriel.
Another pupil of my grandmother’s was Doris Chen and not only was she a pupil but she was also a very valued friend of the family.
Mrs Huber was White Russian but married to a Swiss man and was the mother to Kathie (Tusha) and John Huber.
The reason I was grinning so happily was because this was my last concert! My parents finally conceded to my pleas for leaving piano lessons and, as we were going on leave the next year, they reluctantly agreed this would be my last time!
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