Born in Belgium into a family of German background, Ms. Piana grew up in the French-speaking part of Brussels and was educated in the humanities, with an emphasis on classical languages. She studied piano throughout childhood at various Music Academies and turned to the harp just before entering the Royal Conservatory of Music, in the studio of Francette Bartholomee. She also commuted to Paris to study with Frederique Cambreling.
In 1980, at the invitation of master teacher Susan McDonald, Ms. Piana moved to the USA. She earned a Master of Arts degree from the Claremont Graduate University in California. Thereupon she served as Adjunct Professor of Harp at the University of Redlands and La Sierra University in Riverside until the summer of 2001. Throughout the years she has experimented with various creative approaches such as Music and Movement, applying them to the complexities of the harp in pedagogy and performance.
As a solo performer, Ms. Piana has made a specialty of historical recitals. The Romantic Spirit, a unique program of 19th century music and poetry, has been shaped by years of research into the harp and piano literature, matching feelings and ideas, musical substance and idiomatic writing. Her children's presentation The Poet's Harp unveils the magical tricks of this intriguing mechanical marvel with fanciful imagery.
In her ensemble work, Ms. Piana has experimented with numerous sound combinations and styles, partnering with flute, organ and various string combinations. She founded and conducted the Inland Empire Harp Ensemble in many Southern California appearances. She has explored the fascinating Sephardic tradition with cantor Gregory Yaroslow. She founded Duo Appassionata with violinist Sherry Kloss, whose distinctive "singing" style reflects the influence of her close association with Jascha Heifetz.
Ms. Piana introduced the Concerto for Harp by the Belgian composer Joseph Jongen to Southern California audiences with five performances during the 1991-92 season. She has unearthed many less known musical gems awaiting a fresh hearing.
She served as Program Chair for the 1992 National
Conference of the American Harp
Society. She has been listed in the International Who's Who
in Music since 1990 and is on
the touring roster of the California Arts Council.