There is no stopping the piano; Talented musician Nabil Hetman also excels on the violin News Keene State College

On the piano, one of his favorite places, Nabil Hetman’s creative side is revealed like sunlight, its intensity subtle but palpable.

Nabil Hetmann

He’s an artist in every way. He is talented beyond a lot of measures.

“I don’t think about it much,” the 21-year-old Keene State student says of the piano. “I sit down, clear my mind, put my hands on the keys and see where the music takes me.”

This inner sense of travel and unobtrusive nature, coupled with uncommon talent and potential for growth, is attracting attention, said Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova, professor and mentor of Nabil, who transferred from SUNY- Crane School of Music in Potsdam, where he studied for two years.

Nabil said he found the intimacy he sought in Keene Sate’s smaller program and the mentorship he wanted in the college’s accomplished and renowned music faculty. He said he would spend two years at Keene State, honing his craft, earning a degree and imagining the possibilities of his future as a musician.

“I wanted something smaller and I wanted people who were willing to work as hard as they could with me and find opportunities for me. I found this,” Nabil said.

Liberal arts college, Keene State offers a nationally accredited conservatory-level music program. The teachers, many performance artists themselves, work with several hundred students who take lessons and music lessons, and who play in ensembles.

He brought me a block of ice and we carve it like a sculpture. He has the talent and the ideas; it is this final polishing that we will work on to allow it to appear even more mature.

– Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova on Nabil Hetman

Keene State is on the verge of becoming an All-Steinway Institution, a process that began in 2018. It’s just one piano away from joining more than 200 colleges, universities, and music conservatories around the world. to receive this elite status from Steinway & Son.

The program will result in a new inventory of pianos designed by Steinway for teaching, practice and performance.

All Steinway, All Together: Gala Concert and Celebration October 29 is a performance fundraiser to support the final phase of the ongoing initiative.

Hopefully Nabil will be one of many music department students honing their craft on a Keene State Steinway.

Nabil Hetman at the piano
Nabil Hetman at the piano

Wright-Ivanova said the chance to have Nabil on the music program belongs entirely to Keene State.

“He’s a rare type of student and musician,” she said. “In my six years here, the most talented student and the strongest pianist we have had here. Most likely he is the most advanced piano teacher we have ever had in the music department.

Here is the kicker: The piano is only one of the two instruments on which Nabil shines. He also plays the violin, also at an exceptionally high level.

“A lot of people encouraged me to choose one (an instrument), but I can’t choose between the two,” Nabil said.

Wright-Ivanova, who conducts keyboard studies at Keene State, spends two individual practice sessions a week with Nabil.

“He’s got a quick wit, he’s a creative thinker, and he has an ear for color and architecture on the piano. He is also an incredibly hard worker with a training base from an early age that not all of our students have had the privilege of having.

She said Nabil’s interest in the double instrument is embraced and the college will help him excel in both areas while exploring graduate school opportunities, conservatories and even graduate programs at the University. foreigner in Europe.

“He brought me a block of ice, says the professor, and we nibble on it like a sculpture. He has the talent and the ideas; it is this final polishing that we will work on to allow it to appear even more mature.

Nabil is all the way.

“I’m motivated, more than ever,” he said from a piano studio in Redfern, where he added to his countless hours of silent practice, in this case playing Rachmaninoff and striving to conquer some of the configurations of difficult chords that define his pieces. .

Nabil, from Lyon Mountain, NY, said he enjoys sharing music with others and collaborating, calling a musical improvisation class he’s taking this semester especially fun.

“Music, like most art, can make you feel constantly uncomfortable,” Nabil explained. “It’s about breaking that next barrier. When I play, it’s not about me but about the composer, and following this work as much as possible. Playing Beethoven is so much fun. His music has so much depth, and it gives you something unpredictable every time you play it.

At the Steinway Gala, Nabil will break another barrier, trying something that’s only been done once before, or at least that Wright-Ivanova is aware of. On a high-tech Steinway Spirio | r, a high-resolution piano capable of capturing and reproducing live, and on the violin, Nabil will play two movements of a sonata by César Franck, Belgian-French composer and organist.

The first movement will be played on the Spirio, recorded. During the live performance, Nabil will then play the violin live on the piano piece. “Playing it in time, so it doesn’t sound metronomic, will be a challenge,” he notes.

His two loves – the piano and the violin – mingled in a single performance. “New sounds, new textures…it’s music,” said Nabil. “That’s why I love what I do.”

Fully Steinway program

Keene State loaned 18 Steinway pianos four years ago through the Steinway Festival Placement Program. Before arriving on loan, the pianos spent the summer serving major music festivals, including Tanglewood and the Berkshire Choral Festival. Students, faculty, and reserved performers at the Redfern Arts Center have used the pianos for rehearsals and performances throughout this academic year.

KSC purchased four Steinway pianos that first year. At the start of the 2020 school year, the College again “borrowed” festival pianos – 14 at the time – with a commitment to buy more in 2020. The process repeated itself so that by this year, with the purchase of a concert grand, the college replaced all of its inventory.

The college has raised more than $550,000 for the 18 pianos, said Marilyn Shriver, the college’s director of development, and needs another $225,000 to complete funding for a 9-foot Steinway Spirio.

Wright-Ivanova worked closely with Shriver on the project and said the effort on its five-year trajectory, surviving Covid hurdles along the way, “really impacts the music program, the ability of the college to recruit and retain students, and Keene State’s broader reputation as a center for the arts.

To learn more about the Keene State Music Department, visit:

To learn more about the All-Steinway program, visit: