Meet Ivana Sri: A Driven Pianist

By Cheryl Anderson Brown

Senior Ivana Sri is quiet on the outside, but her passion and spirit translate through the room whenever her fingers touch the piano keys. Already a competition-winning pianist in her native country of Indonesia before coming to the United States as a teenager, Ivana has continued to pursue her dream of being a concert pianist with focus and drive.

Although some teens might have had a difficult time moving to the other side of the planet, Ivana faced every challenge with the same cheerful determination that has made her popular among her KSU classmates.

“Moving here was very hard,” she says. “I didn’t know how the system worked here.” She enrolled at McEachern High School and was told that she needed to choose between playing in the orchestra or singing in the chorus. She selected orchestra and took the last seat amongst the second violins in the beginning orchestra. When the director asked each student to tune individually, Ivana was surprised that everyone else knew how to play. “I thought beginning meant ‘beginning,’ but everyone else had been playing since middle school or elementary school!” Under her teacher’s guidance and using his old violin, Ivana drew on her experience as a pianist to teach herself how to play violin. Now, she plays in the KSU Orchestra. “I would much rather play violin than sing,” she laughs, hinting that others would rather she plays, too.

But what Ivana really would rather do is play the piano. In her first year at Kennesaw State, she was awarded the Joseph Meeks Scholarship (named for the dean of the KSU College of the Arts) by the Steinway Society of Atlanta. More recently, she won the Georgia Music Educators Association college piano division competition, earning a performance berth at their statewide convention in Savannah in January 2007.

Ivana says she loves performing and competing. “I really do want to play in more competitions and go to a really good graduate school.” She plans to begin working with her mentor, KSU Professor of Piano David Watkins, to start applying for graduate programs soon. She has a long list of places she’d like to go, including several conservatories in Boston and New York.

In the mean time, Ivana will continue grabbing every minute she can in the practice rooms between classes during the week and teaching piano and violin to 20 elementary through high school students on the weekend.

“Everybody says that if you care, you have to teach.”


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