My name is Elena Fainshtein, and I am a professional musician. My instrument of choice from childhood has been the button accordion, traditionally known as Bayan.
I started to play this unique instrument at age five. I first took private lessons and then attended a school for musically gifted children in Minsk, Belarus, where my second instrument of choice was piano. Then, at 15, I was accepted to Music College in Minsk, graduating with highest honors. After Music College, I attended the Belarusian State Academy of Music and graduated in 1987.
I have enjoyed performing from a very young age. Born into a family of teachers, I had the opportunity to perform at school for many occasions, at parties, and even at weddings.
I began playing in an accordion duo with my classmate, Gregory Fainshtein at 17. He became my husband and music partner six years later. Since our school days, Gregory and I have performed concerts all over the world, including Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Germany, Israel, and the United States.
Gregory and I have been members of the National Accordion Association for 15 years and have performed nationally at various conventions. In 2013 and 2015, we performed at the Accordionists and Teacher Guild International Festival.
We traveled to Las Vegas and shared our passion for musical performance at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention in 2014.
In 2019 I was able to take one of my top accordion students, Elijah Clements, there. He received a scholarship from LVAC.
Elijah and I both had an absolutely wonderful time, meeting new people, listen to incredible artists.
We performed a half-hour concert there, playing together as a Duo and each of us played solo pieces as well.
I have been teaching piano and accordion for over 30 years, giving lessons in three different languages. I have worked with children and adults in Belarus, then Israel, and in the United States for the last 15 years. Plano, Texas is my current home, and I work in my private home studio, called Musical Expressions. These days, thanks to Skype, I have accordion students in California, Colorado, and even in London.
A couple of years ago I took on the role of conductor of the Happy Fingers Accordion Band, which is full of adult enthusiast accordion players. We practice every other Saturday and even performed at the NAA convention in 2014.
But my dream was to put together a group of young boys and girls and create an Accordion Students Orchestra, which I was able to accomplish recently! Some of my former accordion enthusiasts joined us, and we performed for the first time at a concert on June 9, 2018.