Distinguished Philadelphia piano teacher strikes chord with students

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I began piano lessons at the age of 6, but never thought of it really as a career per se until I was maybe around 14," said Dr. Charles Abramovic.

Despite his young age, Abramovic says the time was right to introduce himself to the world as a piano prodigy. When he was 14, he won a contest sponsored by the Pittsburgh Symphony. Three years later, at the age of 17, he earned a spot studying at the Curtis Institute of Music.

"People at Curtis get in at the age of 11 and 12, that's not necessarily that young," he said.

But his skills were still enough to strike a chord. Abramovic, 66, enjoyed a career freelancing, accompanying, and performing solo with various orchestras. In 1986, he returned to school to pursue a doctoral degree in music with Temple University. Two years later, he was hired as a piano teacher.

"I've been here ever since and loved every minute," he said.

He credits multiple mentors for his continued success over the years. Thus, the opportunity to pay it forward as an educator is always a thrill.

"There's so many things involved in teaching music at a higher level because at this point, students have made a serious commitment to music," said Abramovic. "We have people coming from China and Korea and Brazil and Philadelphia. And they all have different experiences."

One of those students is Bolun Zhang, who is pursuing professional studies after receiving his master's degree. He came to Philadelphia from Inner Mongolia to perfect his skills.

"I actually want to become a piano teacher, said Zhang. "In my hometown, music education is still not quite good. I just want to help them to improve their professional level."

Despite his dazzling talents on the keys, Zhang says he still has much to learn from Dr. Abramovic.

"Before I came here, I had a lot of skill problems," he said. "So when I ask him, he always gives me very, very precise details."

It was that teaching prowess that earned Dr. Abramovic a nomination to the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame. Founded in 2019, the prestigious roster has inducted 44 teachers from the United States and Canada this year.

"I must say, this is very, very nice," said Abramovic. "This is not why we teach, but it's nice to be acknowledged as a teacher."

His name will now be displayed on a commemorative wall inside the Steinway & Sons factory.

"Steinway has always been my favorite piano to play," said Abramovic.

To learn more about Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance, visit their website.

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