Famous Romanians: piano teacher Carola Grindea
Carola Grindea was a famous Romanian-born piano teacher and the founder of two renowned music institutions: the European Piano Teachers Association and the International Society for the Study of Tension in Performance. She developed a therapeutic method, called Grindea technique, a pre-performance tool to help release tension and achieve mental focus.
By Alexandra Fodor
Carola Grindea (Rabinovici) was born in 1914 in Piatra Neamt, Romania. She attended the Bucharest Music Academy, where she studied with one of the most famous music teachers, Constantza Erbiceanu.
In 1939, two days before the outbreak of the World War II, she emigrated to London, where she studied piano with Tobias MattHay while working at the Romanian section of the BBC at Bush House.
Between 1950 and 1967 she taught piano at the French Lycee in London. In 1968, she joined the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, as a piano teacher and she also started a lecture series, entitled the Techniques of Piano Teaching.
In 1978, she founded the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), which now has branches in 40 European countries as well as in Brazil, India, Japan, Latin America, Canada and the US. The aims of EPTA are to improve piano teaching and performing standards by holding workshops, recitals and master classes.
In 1980, she founded the International Society for Study of Tension in Performance, and she developed a curative method, which came to be known as the Grindea technique. This was based on the assumption that pianists suffered because of the way they played, not because they overplayed. She encouraged musicians to play with greater proficiency and comfort by settling in a balanced, but not relaxed, pose with head, neck and back in perfect alignment.
In 1993, she established the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe, which runs an annual competition. In 2007, she was awarded a Citation for Leadership, by Music Teachers National Association in US. In 2008, she published Great Pianists and Pedagogues, a collection of conversations with performers such as Vladimir Ashkenazy and Murray Perahia.
Grindea died in UK, July 10, 2009 at the age of 95. Recently, the Romanian Cultural Institute in London organized the event “Tribute to Carola Grindea, a Musical Celebration in Memory of a Great Musician”.