Joann Cierniak grew up in Sartell, a small papermill town situated on the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota, USA. Her father’s usual way of beginning his day was with music. From earliest childhood, she remembers waking up each morning to the sound of classical music emanating from the family’s radio during a program called ‘The Morning Concert’.
Her father had discovered classical music as an engineering student at the University of Minnesota. Much to his daughter’s delight, he often came to the breakfast table humming themes from Beethoven symphonies or singing along with a recording of Enrico Caruso’s rendition of La donna è mobile or Feodor Chaliapin’s performance of the mad scene from Boris Godunov.
Joann earned a BA degree in English from the University of Minnesota. She married Joseph Cierniak, and besides raising two sons, has devoted herself to advocating for the arts. She served two terms on the Board of Directors of The Schubert Club and edited its newsletter. She researched social history, costume and set design for the Guthrie Theatre and wrote articles for its programs and newsletters. One summer she tracked down American performing artists living in Europe and establishing careers there, publishing articles illustrated with her photos of them. For several years, she served as chief volunteer light walker for Minnesota Opera productions. During the ‘cooling off’ period of Glasnost and Perestroika, especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall, she was instrumental in welcoming and arranging concerts for musicians who immigrated to Minnesota from Eastern Europe.
Joann Cierniak has lived in California, Europe and the West Indies. She now makes her home in St Paul, Minnesota.
Holly Langer is a supremely gifted American violinist with a well-established reputation as an orchestral musician and master teacher. While her career is beckoning her in the direction of fame and fortune, a chance meeting with a Bahamian cardiologist causes her to reevaluate the goals and assumpti...