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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended September 22, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 04Oct00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Five LDS Brown Siblings At Juliard

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- All the Brown's wanted to do was teach their five children to learn to play a musical instrument.  It was important to them that they be able to sing Christmas carols around the piano or maybe play at church. But five pianists?  All at the same conservancy?  It has been a dream come true, or is it a nightmare?

All five of the Brown children are studying piano at Juilliard, where twoare freshman, Gregory, 17 and Melody, 16.   Two are seniors, Desirae, 21 and Deondra, 20.   Ryan, 14 attends the precollege program.  Officials at the school say it is a first at the conservatory, which only accepts one of every nine applicants.

"It is amazing how different they are in their music-making and the direction of their talent," said Yoheved Kaplinsky, a popular Juillard teacher and chairwoman of the piano department.  "It's difficult to say at this point which one will succeed the most."  "I do know that each one is talented enough to make a niche for themselves in the music world if they so choose," Kaplinsky said.

The Browns are from Utah and currently rent a five-bedroom brick house in Hartsdale, N.Y.   The house is crammed with five grand pianos.  "If you stand in one place, you can hear Saint-Saens in one room, Chopin in another, Rachmaninoff in another," said the pianists' father, who often goes outside to use the phone.

Lisa and Keith Brown, both 44, homeschool their children as the only way they could find the time to practice four to six hours a day as well as lead a normal life.  "It's not the Brady Bunch," Kaplinsky said.  "But the nice thing about it is they know how to resolve conflicts.  The bottom line is the family needs to remain intact.  Somebody always knows how to back off enough to continue."

Margery Franklin, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. specializes in the psychology of art.  She has questioned the wisdom of having all five study with the same teacher.  "It's hard to say whether it's healthy or not, but this was the wish of the family," she said.

This year the Brown's tuition for Juilliard, including the required room and board for the two freshman, will total $87,000.  The students receive a partial scholarship and have taken out loans.  "We're always in financial crisis," said Keith Brown.   The sacrifices are always worth it, but he is still a bit perplexed at how his life came to revolve around 88 keys, or more precisely, 440.


Harmonious Brown family carves niche in piano world
Houston TX Chronicle (New York Times) 21Sep00 A2
By Daniel J. Wakin


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