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Alumni Profile: Gergana Haralampieva '12

Gergana Haralampieva was 13 years old when she first heard about Walnut Hill through her peers at the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at NEC. “I was immediately interested in attending Walnut Hill because I was craving a nurturing and artistically stimulating environment,” she explains. “I wanted to have teachers and friends who cared as equally about music as I did and understood what it took to dedicate your life to the arts.” As a student, Gergana spent most of her free time in a practice room. She notes that although she was not officially allowed to “claim” a room, she practically lived in the Boswell Hall green room—her friends always knew where to find her, and would visit her in the afternoon to work on homework. Gergana adds, “I even made myself a little bed for napping under one of the tables from a piano cover and borrowed pillows from the library!” These days, she is a member of Ensemble Connect, a two-year fellowship for young professionals through Carnegie Hall. Apart from performing chamber music together, the goal of the fellowship is for its 18 members to expand their experience in teaching, community engagement, entrepreneurship, and leadership. “The centerpiece of my career is education,” Gergana explains. “Through this fellowship I have been learning a lot about creative learning as well as audience engagement.” She looks back fondly on her time at Walnut Hill, noting that it taught her some crucial time management skills. Finding the balance between academics and arts was tricky, and she learned to “laser focus” on whatever she needed to finish, in whatever amount of time she had. Adds Gergana: “You can get a lot of work done (if not more) if you only have 20 minutes!”