I am a pianist and a singer bred by the traditions of the Russian school. My roots are planted in these memories-playing piano during overflowing dinners, and singing Soviet bard songs around family campfires. My love of song is audible in my patterns of speech. You’ll hear my voice carry in its distinct presence.
In my music-making, I seek community first. The element of human connection is the most important aspect of art to me. Its drawn me to work with dancers, percussionists, living composers in the world of new music, and improvisation.
I speak through art based in vulnerability and emotional transparency. The experiences in my life that have inspired me the most come from this place. I find this vulnerability in free improvisation, writing songs, and in creating unapologetic experiences that say, “I feel with you.”
Sonya Belaya is a Russian-American musician who divides her time between Michigan and New York. As a diverse music-maker performing contemporary, improvised, and classical music, Sonya is invested in vulnerable art and the development of strong, personal collaborations.
Sonya has performed as a pianist and singer with members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,
New Music Detroit, Michigan Opera Theatre, Willo Collective, Russian Renaissance, and Bang
on a Can All-Stars. Currently, she is working on releasing a debut chamber folk EP entitled
‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’.
Sonya has been a participant in many notable music festivals, including Bang on Can Summer
Festival, Banff Creative Arts Centre, and she was the Resident Fellow in Piano at the
Cortona Sessions. Sonya is an active educator focused on offering music as a means of
exploration and self-awareness. She has served as piano faculty at Metropolitan State
University at DIME-Detroit, and worked as a dance collaborator at the University of Michigan. Her
mentors include Christopher Harding, Joseph Gramley, and Christian Mecca. Currently, Sonya works as a musician at Mark Morris Dance Center, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Her favorite coffee is Stovetop Roasters.