Tatiana Abramova approaches the Steinway grand as if she's going to dance with it.

Anton Fomin sits straight on the piano bench while he precisely and vigorously runs his fingers over the ivories.

The award-winning pianists are two halves of a team, personally and professionally, with very different styles. The Fraser residents are also teachers who had five young students place extremely well in the international Golden Key Music Festival, which had nearly 900 applicants.

Abramova, 32, and Fomin, 38, will perform pieces by Chopin, Schumann, Ravel, Debussy and Liszt on June 6. On June 11, 10 of their young students will perform. Both concerts will be held at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Fraser.

One of their students, Spencer Pellegrino, 9, of Pocopson Township, performed at Carnegie Hall on May 10 as a gold medalist in the Golden Key Music Festival. His father, George, recalled that "I started to tear up, just sitting there watching him. It was pretty emotional."

Spencer comes from a musical family, said his father, an Elvis impersonator and a finalist in the Pennsylvania Senior Idol contest.

Silver medalists were Brandon Huang, 7; Nolan Graham, 11; and Nicole Pennington, 9. They played at the Kimmel Center on Saturday.

Nolan, who lives in Exton, said, "I was kind of freaked out before, but I was less nervous when I sat down on the bench."

His mother, Dottie, said his achievement had skyrocketed since he started studying with Fomin two years ago. Nolan has been playing piano for a total of four years. "He's right into the classics now," his mother said.

Bronze winner Kate Graham, 9, will play June 7 in Princeton.

Abramova teaches Nicole, and Fomin teaches the other four winners. Before a competition or concert, they will switch students to give fresh advice to the kids.

Fomin and Abramova credit their teacher Mary Lebenzon for their successful teaching methods. Both studied under her at Novosibirsk Conservatory in Siberia, where the two met.

They emigrated to the United States - Fomin in 1999, Abramova in 2002 - inspired by "a sense of adventure," as Fomin put it.

Abramova is pursuing her doctorate in music at Temple University, and Fomin just received his master's degree in piano accompaniment and chamber music. They have been teaching in the area for three years. In September, they will also teach at the new Malvern School of Music.

Fomin said: "Teaching is like playing piano with my students' hands. It's very gratifying and satisfying."

At the end of Nolan Graham's Kimmel Center performance, Fomin gave his pupil a vigorous bear hug and kissed him on the top of his head for playing his piece with brilliant virtuosity.

If You Go

Tatiana Abramova and Anton Fomin will perform "An Evening of Classics" at 7 p.m. June 6 at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

At 7 p.m. June 11, their students, including Golden Key Music Festival performers, will give a concert there.

Both concerts are free, but donations are encouraged.

The church is at 400 Lancaster Ave., Fraser. For more information, call 610-648-0707 or visit

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