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Schools

Young Piano Virtuoso Got His Start Extremely Early

You might say that 11-year-old Maxim Lando first learned to love the piano even before he was born.    

But North Middle School sixth grader Lando claims that it was just a little bit later on that he realized that he had a passion to play the instrument, even though his mother, Pippa Borisy, an accomplished pianist, and father, Vadim Lando, a classically trained clarinetist, were the owners of a music school before he arrived.

“He grew up here,” said his mother, referring to the Great Neck Music Conservatory that she and her husband run. “He was sitting in on lessons from the time he was six-weeks-old. And I was teaching when I was expecting.”

Regardless of when the exact moment occurred, the younger Lando said, “When I first heard the piano I absolutely fell in love with it … My parents had nothing to do with it.”

Lessons began before he was four-years-old. “When he was about three-and-a-half,” his mother explained, “I said to Meichun Bao, who was teaching here: ‘He’s here all the time. We need him to go do something. Do something with him.’  They started off doing games and they formed such a bond.  She’s like a second mom to him.”

Since then, Maxim has built a record of notable artistic accomplishments, including a solo recital near Toronto this August and an appearance in Armenia earlier this summer in which he played a piece for piano, clarinet and violin with his father. The previous summer he played in Italy.  The Canadian performance was a highlight of his career, he says. “I’ll never forget my recital there.”  He’s already been invited back next year.

“They contacted us,” said Borisy of the Canadian invitation. “Someone had referred them to Maxim’s website (maximlando.com) and the director of the series called us. They invited us and we said ‘sure.’”

While he’s appeared on stage with father and his mother separately, the three have never done a performance together.  “We have played family concerts, though,” his mother said. She says it’s hard to find something that is a piano duo with clarinet. “It’s a goal,” she admitted, “so we’re just going to have to find something appropriate.”

Several days ago he made a return appearance with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church near Lincoln Center.  He has been appearing with the group every year since he was six and is the only child ever selected to work with them.

Between school and practicing, Lando has very little spare time.  He likes to play ping-pong and read but rarely watches television. “I do go on the Internet every day and listen to WQXR,” he said.  “There’s this great site called ‘Vimeo. ‘ It shows the most wonderful competitive videos of piano and violin (which he also plays).  It shows you the different Tchaikovsky (piano) competitions. I watch Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev. I watch all the great concertos.”

He’s also working on a pilot video with local Great Neck ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner to educate young children about classical music.

Lando has great admiration for current pianists Evgeny Kissin and Martha Argerich in addition to the late Vladimir Horowitz.  He also admires violinist Vadim Gluzman.

His original teacher, Bao, continues to work with Lando regularly but Lando’s parents have made a commitment to bring him to Boston twice a month to study with the husband-wife team of Huang-Kuan Chen and Tema Blackstone at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Asked about his future career goals, he responded, “I will keep up with studying piano and continue performing in all of the things I’m doing now. I’d probably enter some sort of competition. I would continue playing concertos. I would just keep on practicing the piano.”

Adds his mother, “What he wants to do eventually is play with a major orchestra.”