Blog Archive 2014

Dec 31, 2014

Truly happy that my piano piece “Moonlight Stroll” made it to the “Best of The Piano Cloud 2014” playlist. This piece is also very special to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was an open invitation to remix the piece and it got a huge response - 50 (!!) remixes in different styles from musicians all over the world. This piece was also the very first piece of mine to reach 50k plays on SoundCloud and it is still counting (at 62k now) - something I could have never imagined when I joined SoundCloud in 2012. It may also well be the first piece of mine to receive 1000 likes on SoundCloud, only 11 likes to go!

Dec 27, 2014

About a month ago I posted a wintry composition called “Dream of a snowflake” - one of my rare orchestral compositions. I hope you will enjoy this piano improvisation based on the same melodic motif.

Dec 21, 2014

I can’t get enough of playing my new baby. Here is another improvisation that we recorded today. Credit for the recording and for the video clip goes to my husband.

Dec 15, 2014

The release of my jazzy piano album is just three days away! This is one of the edgier jazzy tracks included in the album.

Dec 10, 2014

No structure, no particular motifs, just a free flowing jazz - this is how I like to relax in between teaching students and learning new pieces. Hope you like it!

Dec 9, 2014

One of the interesting things to discover while listening to different composers is to hear how their culture influences their style. I met Fivos Valachis on SoundCloud over a year ago and when I listened to his compositions for the very first time, I thought, “Wow, I could have known he is from the Mediterranean even if I didn’t check the information on his profile”. Those Mediterranean motifs are shining in Fivos’s compositions and his playing style, making them sound so bright and authentic. No wonder that Fivos Valachis has around 6 thousands followers on SoundCloud, who have played his tracks over 2 million times.

“A Day In Venice” is the second album released by Fivos, and appeared in November, 2014. This is my review on this brilliant album.

Nov 29, 2014

It all started with my husband asking me to compose some wintry tune, something that would fit Christmas or New Year themes. He also asked if we can create an orchestral piece, not just a piano improvisation. Each time he asks me about orchestral pieces, I tend to reject at first, as it’s too challenging and I never believe I can actually make it. I mean, one thing is to play a piano improvisation or write a song but making an orchestral piece is something of a different level of composer skills. At least this is what I think. I am always amazed when I hear such compositions made by some fellow soundclouders. When I am listening to those, I don’t even know how to approach composing such pieces.

Anyways, I started by improvising on piano (surprise!), trying to find some fitting motif. After making a short piano intro, my husband proposed to use strings for harmonies and a violin for the melody. So, we chose violas and I played the harmonies part, adding the violin melody on top of it. Next we thought about adding little inserts of harp. After that some violin parts were replaced with a flute line. But the real challenge came when Arty asked me to sing the choir part towards the end. As I didn’t have a score for any instrument that was recorded before, I just had to catch my own melodies by ear. At the end, the choir part was made of 5 vocal lines.

I hope you haven’t become bored of this long story :-) Have a wonderful white season everyone!

Nov 25, 2014

Having grand piano at home is pretty addictive - spending hours and hours playing every day. I would play even more if I had the time. However, recording improvisations on the grand piano is a tricky and long process. No more fixing wrong notes. Not that I play many of those but when it’s a MIDI recording - it’s tempting to fix even a single one. When it’s an acoustic recording - alas. Besides, it’s not that easy to transcribe acoustic recordings - MIDI is way easier to transcribe. Easier, but not trivial - it takes about a week to transcribe a single improvisation into sheet music. But it’s an absolutely amazing feeling when I get the notes for my own improvisations - they stop being “moments in time that never repeat” and become compositions that can be played over and over again. And not just by myself.

Anyways, here is a new improvisation from me..... based on the motif invented by my husband. This is a MIDI recording, produced the same way as most of my piano pieces... However, now I will make a note sheet for it, so I’ll be able to play it again on the acoustic piano.. in the future :-).

Nov 22, 2014

Wonderful review of my upcoming album “Frozen Dream”, written by Simon Reich.

Nov 7, 2014

This review is special to me both in a personal and in a professional way: even before I started composing my own music, the way that I played the piano was compared to Jim Brickman’s beautiful piano solo style, which I didn’t even know at the time.

Three years ago curiosity got the better of me and I purchased Jim’s “Piano Moods” trilogy. Now, three years later, I have come full circle, writing about this very special musician, composer and award-winning pianist.

Nov 1, 2014

And here comes the very first acoustic recording of my new grand piano. My husband spent an hour playing with different positions of mics and finally got sound that he wasn’t shy to share. Certainly, there is a lot of experimenting to be done to get a better recording, this is mostly a very first try to record my new baby.

Both me and my husband are big fans of "The Piano" movie and Michael Nyman’s compositions and this piece is one of my all times favorites to play and improvise on. I hope I did it justice. I don’t have notes, so it’s an improvisation played by ear.

Oct 25, 2014

I like to participate in "The Piano Cloud" challenges. This time it was about composing a piece based on four specific chords in this particular order: Gm,Dm, Eb, F. Enjoy my little contribution to this challenge.

Oct 23, 2014

Fantastic review on "Accidental Etudes" written by Dave Greening!

Oct 19, 2014

Continuing the "not classical" improvisational series. Hope you will like this rendition on Tchaikovsky’s "October".

Oct 13, 2014

I love each season, but I think my music has some special connection to the colors of Autumn.

Oct 7, 2014

First recording of the new baby :) The piano isn’t tuned yet after the delivery and the recording is done on a cheap camera, but this is all for starters :) We are going to get a better recording equipment later this year.

Oct 4, 2014

Today was the first time I improvised in my new piano studio. Still on my digital piano but in two days I am finally getting my new grand piano. Absolutely excited about that and feels somewhat surreal.

Sep 28, 2014

Continuing the "not classical" improvisational series. Hope you will like this jazzy take on Mozart’s all time classics.

Sep 18, 2014

Another piano improvisation that is based on my husband’s motif:

We decided to offer it for you to remix, arrange or orchestrate. You may download the following archive (54Mb) that includes both the original improvisation and quantized version (90bpm) with both WAV and MIDI files.

Use your imagination :) You shouldn’t follow the original piano as-is but as well can cut parts of the MIDI, leaving some connection to the original, e.g. by incorporating the same motif. At the end I will choose the most unique and intriguing arrangements and send them to my publisher for commercial licensing - of course, upon mutual agreement about the split with the arranger :)

Sep 5, 2014

A new piano improvisation from me, based on the motif played by my husband (it opens the first 15 seconds of this piece).

Sep 2, 2014

Been busy lately renovating a room that will soon become a piano studio with the new grand piano that I am about to purchase. Here is a little chillout piano tune that I recorded in the meantime.

Aug 10, 2014

After the unexpected success of "Not Fur Elise", my husband asked me if I can play a set of "Not classical" improvisations. I am a huge fan of Chopin, no less than I am a fan of Beethoven. So, here is the next "not classical" piece. Enjoy :)

Aug 9, 2014

I had a great pleasure improvising on this "baby" at "Campbell Douglas Keyboards" today. I liked the sound and the touch and finally decided that this is the one I’d like to purchase. Hopefully, by the end of September I will get it in my studio!

Aug 3, 2014

New original song from me, hope you enjoy it :)

Jul 13, 2014

I bet what you hear on this track will be something unexpected for you. No piano this time but one of our experimental soundtracks for movie trailers - an attempt to compose our own version of a trailer soundtrack for movies like "Battle Los Angeles". It contains three parts: invasion, defeat and revenge back. Hope you enjoy it even if it doesn’t have any piano in it

Jul 5, 2014

A smooth and jazzy improvisation from me :) Hope you like it!

Jul 3, 2014

Just got the link to the promo video about my performance at "RAW Artists" showcase in Ottawa. Credit goes to Claudel Désir!

Jun 27, 2014

It’s great to be a member of "The Piano Cloud" community and participate in its periodic challenges. The ongoing challenge that is called "Something borrowed" is about providing the sheet music of one of your pieces for others to play and record their interpretations of your piece. So, I chose to play the piece called "Purple thought" composed by Karlo Alfonso Brna. It was quite challenging piece for me as I rarely play cross-hands and playing different rhythms in both hands drove me crazy. But it was a good challenge. Hope you like it.

Jun 24, 2014

I’ve posted some dark pieces lately, so, for changing the mood, here is some whimsical waltz. Somehow odd, frolic and slightly surreal. Based on the motif played by my husband (those chords that open the piece).

Jun 20, 2014

My second collaboration with Michael Orzek. Shortly after I uploaded my original piano solo about a month ago, I received a message from Michael, asking if he can add his guitar to my piano improvisation. I so much loved the result and hope you will enjoy it too! Many thanks to Michael!

Jun 17, 2014

This new dramatic improvisation is based on my husband’s motif. It sounded somehow ominous and contemplative, like a scene with an investigator, sitting in a dark room and trying to solve the mystery of some crime. Enjoy!

June 13, 2014

It was a wonderful performance yesterday at "RAW Artists" showcase in Montreal’s "Rialto Theatre". Enjoy two videos from the performance: "Endless Night" and "The door".

Jun 10, 2014

Haven’t recorded songs for a while, got some backlog of "drafts" sitting there and waiting for their turn. Last weekend we got some time to record one of those "drafts" properly.

Jun 5, 2014

Enjoy this new piano improvisation from me, dreamy and contemplative.

June 2, 2014

It is rather old track from my very first album but I still like it for its relaxing, meditative mood. Last weekend we filmed some shots in a nearby forest to create a simple video. Hope you enjoy what you hear and what you see.

May 29, 2014

Had fun performing at "RAW Artists" showcase in Ottawa today. Some audience was rather loud, but I am happy I was able to manage it and not forget the words of my own songs :). And, oh, well, there were many people standing around and listening, so it’s all good.

May 24, 2014

The 1st event "Improvisation for you" that happened two months ago received an exciting response - I got many amazing melodic motifs to improvise on. So, by that time we knew it already that we are going to organize another event like the previous one.

This time I’ve received 10 motifs, played on piano, whistled... yes-yes, whistled! Or just written as notes. Yesterday three motifs were randomly drawn and I had fun improvising on the fly. The chosen motifs were recorded by:
- Barry Snaith from UK;
- Yannick Jamsin from Belgium;
- Maurizio Schembri from Malta.

I hope you will enjoy this video recording of the event:

You can also listen to and download the audio recording on SoundCloud:

May 21, 2014

My husband is good at inventing mysterious dissonant motifs :-). We recorded this improvisation spontaneously two days ago, just added some atmospheric elements.

May 20, 2014

I want to share the very first score for one of my solo piano pieces - "Waltz of a Dying Candle". I’d love to hear your interpretations of this piece. Record yourself playing this piece, upload it on SoundCloud, YouTube of the linked page on Free-Scores and drop the link to your recording to my e-mail.

May 18, 2014

I just reviewed a truly inspiring album by Dave Greening, called "Like a Picasso". You can read the review here.

May 13, 2014

Recently, I received a comment saying "Milana, you rule the piano". Jokingly, I replied with "Or the piano rules me :-)". But there is a truth in that joke. When I play, I literally feel like being trapped.. being trapped in the music...

May 6, 2014

I hope you will enjoy this little jazzy improvisation from me - "From the heart"

May 6, 2014

I hope you will enjoy this little jazzy improvisation from me - "From the heart"

May 4, 2014

I am really enjoying writing reviews for albums. It changes the listening experience when you need to listen carefully and try to verbally describe what you hear.

I would love to introduce you to another of my favorite soundclouders - Miranda Shvangiradze - and her debut album called "Ready for the trip?".

May 1, 2014

I’ve been rather busy recently, preparing for my performance in a month, coordinating the release of my piano album in three weeks, looking for piano students and so on. It is nice to make a break and do something else, so here is my take on Fivos Valachis’s beautiful composition called "Sunrise in Meteora". As usual, I played the original and then improvised on the same theme. Enjoy!

April 29, 2014

My forthcoming piano album "Accidental Etudes" just received a great review (read it here) from Michael Diamond. Michael Diamond is a San Francisco Bay area music producer, recording artist, and journalist with over 30 years experience writing arts and media reviews for nationally published magazines and more recently world-wide on the internet.

April 22, 2014

Dark and somber piano piece based on the melodic motif played by my husband. One of the rare cases when it is not just a solo piano but a composition for piano, cello and choir.

April 14, 2014

I was celebrating my birthday with a family in a sunny Florida, when my sister-in-law asked restaurant’s management if I can sing one of my songs. It was totally spontaneous, not planned and not rehearsed. Sorry for the quality :-)

April 11, 2014

Short and jazzy improvisation from me :) Nocturnal and chilled. Enjoy "Rhythms of the Night"!

April 7, 2014

Fresh improvisation "Farewell" from my piano, based on a melancholic motif played by my husband.

April 3, 2014

This is the 3rd track from my upcoming piano album "Accidental Etudes". You can pre-order the album on BandCamp, Amazon MP3. I have a short lot of 25 CDs, which I will sign personally for everyone who decides to purchase CD on BandCamp.

March 31, 2014

Every now and then, "The Piano Cloud" has fantastic challenges. This current "The Bouquet Challenge" is about composing a 60-seconds solo piano piece describing some flower in music. Here is my submission to the challenge, a short improvisation about my favorite flowers - Tulips.

March 27, 2014

Last weeks had a lot of "juggling" to do... here is some relaxing jazzy tune to chillout.

March 24, 2014

My review on the piano album "Preludes Fantasies" composed by Stephan Beneking and played by Brad Hill.

March 17, 2014

This is just wow of a blog post about "Improvisation for you" event! Absolutely excited to read and huge thanks to Dave Greening who wrote this post! Great surprise and making my day!

March 16, 2014

Many of you know that many of my improvisations start with a simple motif, played by my husband or by my kids. I thought it would be nice to ask my followers to invent a short motif of their own and then to offer an improvisation around it as a gift, to thank you all for the appreciation of my music, your kind words and your support. So, 10 days ago I announced this event on Facebook and since then I’ve received recordings of 17 motifs, played on piano, guitar, flute, or just written as notes. Yesterday three motifs were randomly drawn and I had fun improvising on the fly. The chosen motifs were recorded by:
- Jaime J. Ross from US;
- Robert Stadler from Greece;
- Marlinda from Indonesia.

I hope you will enjoy this video recording of the event:

You can also listen to and download the audio recording on SoundCloud:

March 12, 2014

One of my first attempts to review someone’s album. I would love to introduce you to Dirk Maassen’s album called "Viva / Project Ascolta!".

March 9, 2014

It’s March already, I know :). But it was recorded on the last day of February, inspired by Ivan Ujevic’s Elegy that I played earlier this year.

March 4, 2014

A fresh piano improvisation that was born from a simple motif.

February 25, 2014

Some of you may think that it’s too daring on my side to re-interpret Beethoven’s all-times classics, but to me it is a pure sentimental thing, a tribute to two Masters... The first one is the author of the original, of course... and another Master - my mom. She wasn’t playing or singing herself, but she surely inspired my dad and me to keep playing no matter what. And I used to dare and hoped that she is listening and loves my playing and my daring. Every time I hear the original composition, I think of her.

February 21, 2014

How about some smooth jazz? I had a great pleasure playing piano in this collaboration with Carlo Presti (drums) and Michel Martineau (clarinet).

February 19, 2014

I’ve had a couple of collaborations with Ivan Ujevic before, adding ambient piano to his magnificent ambient guitar. The very recent one was just a couple of days ago. Same time Ivan asked me if I can play the solo piano version of the recent piece. He didn’t have the note sheet so I asked if it’s ok to just interpret the piece with an improvisation rather than trying to follow the original composition precisely. Ivan gave his approval and we recorded this interpretation by "cutting" the original into 5-10 seconds parts and improvising on each of them separately, then merging everything into one piece.

February 14, 2014

Being in the mood for some rocking piano again. I think it reminds Tori Amos’s style of playing.

February 9, 2014

My second (and last ) submission to the "Bleeding Fingers Competition - Hans Zimmer wants you". When I was making the fist one, I accidentally wrote a song. It wasn’t easy to fit it into two minutes and to base it on some stems from the original composition, but, well, I tried.

February 7, 2014

My recent improvisations were mostly jazzy, seems like not many people are into that kind of jazz. Frankly, I am not too much into avant-garde free style jazz, myself. So, well, returning back to the more rocking feel.

February 4, 2014

Recently, I’ve been lucky to have time for playing everyday. This is one of the recently recorded improvisations, quite whimsical, turned out to be some kind of ethno-jazz, I think..

February 1, 2014

Very excited to participate in "Bleeding Fingers Competition - Hans Zimmer wants you". I don’t have much experience in an orchestration (just an amateurish without formal degree) but still I dared to try, using my strong sides and making piano to be the leading instrument. Overall, I left the same original structure, making it less triumphant and epic but more emotional and longing (there comes the title of my version - "Coming Home").

Jan 30, 2014

This is the last uploaded piece from the second collaborative album with Stephan Beneking: "Petits rêves bizarres XIII-XXIV". We both hope you’ve enjoyed this "bizarre" journey that started in January, 2013 and lasted for the whole year. If you like what you hear, you can purchase both albums on iTunes & Amazon. We appreciate your support!

January 26, 2014

It’s fun to go over different genres and moods in some kind of a loop: jazz, blues, rock, classical, ambient, mad, angry, relaxing, meditative, melancholic, contemplative, surreal, and so on, and so forth. Never know what will inspire another improvisation and how it is going to sound.

January 23, 2014

We had a "meltdown" just a week or so ago. No we seem to return back to another "Ice Age":

January 20, 2014

One of my recent piano improvisations that turned into a song already (to be recorded in the next weeks):

January 16, 2014

Many people noticed that I love dissonances in my music. Here is the surreal piece that is even more dissonant than the usual me. Hope you don’t mind this journey to the other side: "In the maze of surreal dreams".

January 12, 2014

We got a couple of warm days, everything is melting... and in a couple of days, when everything is going to freeze back, we will get a "nice" rink on our front yard. The good thing is that weather always inspires for improvising in different moods: "Meltdown".

January 9, 2014

This song was supposed to be kind of a "New Year" song but we haven’t had enough time to finish recording it on time. So, it turned into a "Birthday" song for my beloved husband. After all, "Birthday" is a personal "New Year". Happy New Year everyone! Watch on YouTube: "Magic of the Night".

January 5, 2014

About a month ago I listened to and left some comments on a beautiful piece by Fivos Valachis called "Promenades En Campagne". Fivos asked if I can play it and I gave it a try. This is my interpretation of Fivos’s original composition: first half I played it following the note sheet, second half I improvised on the same theme: "Promenades En Campagne".

January 4, 2013

Many thanks to Kathy Parsons from MainlyPiano for the nice interview! Follow the link if you want to read some facts from my life not covered on this site.

January 2, 2014

Just a short jazzy ambient improvisation on an extremely cold day (-27C): "Shine On".

Blog archive (2013)

Blog archive (2012)