The Cuban-born pianist Juana Zayas was eleven years old when she graduated from the Peyrellade Conservatory in Havana. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire where she took first prize in both piano and chamber music and then took a prize at the Geneva International Music Competition. In 1977, Miss Zayas made her New York debut. A New York Times critic praised the recital as “an imposing feat,” and later mentioned it as one of the high points in his review of the musical year. Miss Zayas’s 1983 recording of the Chopin Etudes (reissued by Music & Arts in 1995, CD 891) was almost embarrassingly well received. One reviewer went so far as to declare that Miss Zayas had outperformed Maurizio Pollini.

For most pianists, these achievements would have been the foundation, if not the guarantee, of a successful career. The remarkable thing about Miss Zayas, however, is that she has...

 
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