NEW CANAAN — Adriana Velinova has been studying music forever. “Forever,” she emphasized.

Originally from Bulgaria, Velinova has traveled around the world showcasing her musical and singing talents. A product of the National School of Music in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, Velinova ventured to study piano at the University of Nevada at the age of 18.

Velinova recently talked about her trajectory and her passions.

Q: How did you begin with music?

A: I got started with music at the age of 4. I went to the National School of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria, at the age of 6, and the level of commitment and hours devoted to piano practicing were tremendous.

The competition at my school was unbelievable because everybody was the kid of a musician and it ran in their families for many generations. My grandmother played the piano and accordion, but it wasn’t a professional level. I was there with a strict and intelligent grandmother.

I always sang. My grandmother taught me so many songs and I started composing my own songs. I would write and compose in both languages. I’m a musician to the very core of my being.

Q: How was studying at the National School of Music?

A: I learned about every subject — science, writing, etc. — but with great emphasis on piano.

Harmony, theory and all that with specialty classes every day. You would be proactive for at least three more hours a day in addition to your school. You had to learn, work it out and memorize, and you would be judged very hard if you didn’t do your job. It wasn’t by choice, it was by necessity.

Q: How was studying in Las Vegas?

A: My professor, Mykola Suk, wanted to bring me to the University of Nevada. He was of that caliber and I wanted to learn from him.

Suk said I had a very beautiful voice and he encouraged me to take voice lessons for fun. Usually these professors don’t inspire you to follow anything out of your classes, but he suggested I could take fun with some things and I could take it at heart, and it was my pleasure and I was accepted as a voice student and was studying both.

Singing was always my strength. In 2009, I came to New York City to Mannes College of Music to study opera, classical voice. I did that for the next six years and got another bachelor’s degree in music and master’s degree in voice.

Q: Your grandmother introduced you to music?

A: My grandmother raised me.

I used to go to the opera house every three days in Sophia. That’s how I grew up — with operas and theater plays. I lived in downtown Sophia next to the parliament and the opera was right behind it. Two minutes to the national theater and two more to the opera. I had to be quiet and I could applaud when it was time and I was just so excited.

I would sit on the top balcony in the center. She was my inspiration of knowledge and music — she was behind me every single day. We would discuss every event and talk about my experience.

Q: Any plans to go back to Sofia?

A: I haven’t been to Sofia in a few years, but (my family and I are) definitely going next summer.

We speak only Bulgarian at home and we would love for our kids to carry this treasure, because each additional culture and language is a plus.

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