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Stojanovska tickles the ivories for Haiti

Romel Joseph
Haitian violinist Romel Joseph and his daughter Victoria

Natasha Stojanovska, a piano performance Master’s student at IU South Bend, performed at a benefit concert in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The concert was created for victims of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that left Haiti in shambles two years ago. Romel Joseph, a Julliard-trained, nearly blind violinist, transformed his 18 hour entrapment experience under the rubble of his school into a plan that introduces classical music to Haitian children.

The earthquake inspired Joseph to create a modern performing arts center and music conservatory for the children of Haiti. To spread awareness, Joseph planned benefit concerts in Haiti and invited the musical talents of Stojanovska.

At a children’s lecture concert, Stojanovska represented and introduced the piano and performed well-known Haitian folk songs. Kindling the holiday mood, she played Christmas music for the 200 students in attendance. Another concert featured her dazzling performance of Chopin’s Andate Spianato and Grand Polonaise, illustrating the influence of classical music for musicians.

Stojanovska first met Joseph in April of 2008 at a music competition presented by Walenstein Musical Organization, in Miami, Florida. Since winning second prize at the competition, Stojanovska has been involved in Walenstein Musical Organization’s other events, getting the chance to play beside Joseph at some of them.

Joseph created a new non-profit organization, Friends of Music Education for Haiti, whose mission is to spread awareness of Haiti’s need for a performing arts center, raise funds, and expose underprivileged children to classical music. More concerts are planned for the United States and Haiti. Joseph recently published his autobiography, The Miracle of Music. In the book he declares, “I’m not going to let an earthquake stop me from doing my work. Yes the people of Haiti desperately need food, water, and shelter, but their social and cultural needs must be met, as well.”  

For more information about FMEH (Friends of Music Education for Haiti) and Joseph’s projects, please visit their website at www.friendsofmusicforhaiti.org. You can also access information and volunteer your help by accessing their Facebook page or following them on Twitter at @FMEH_Haiti.