In its Summer 1999 issue, International Piano Quarterly surveyed the entire discography of complete recordings of the Chopin Etudes, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the most notable of the lot. Among these, it declared Ms. Zayas's own 1983 recording to be a "compelling first choice." This assessment aptly confirms what New York Times critic Harold Schonberg observed 22 years earlier after having listened to her perform these virtuoso pieces at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall: "It was altogether an imposing feat, and it may be that we have with us a Chopinist to the manner born. . . . She played with style, sensitivity, a big technique and an aristocratic flair for the mixture of romanticism and classicism embedded in the music."
Ms. Zayas has performed throughout Europe, South America, and the United States. She opened the 1999 and 2000 Newport Music Festivals in Newport, Rhode Island with all-Chopin concerts and played all of Chopin twenty-seven Etudes at the 2000 World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is regularly invited by the prestigious Serate Musicali series to give recitals at Verdi Hall in Milan. She has performed with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Zeeuws Orchestra in the Netherlands, the Orquesta Sinfónica de RadioTelevisión Española in Madrid, the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Symphony of the Americas, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Schenectady Symphony, and the San Diego Symphony Orchestras. Her performances have been broadcast by National Public Radio and New York's WQXR. Her recordings are being broadcast by David Dubal on WQXR's comparative piano performance series, Reflections from the Keyboard.
Ms. Zayas started to play the piano at a very early age under the guidance of her mother. At age seven, she gave her first solo recital, performing works by Beethoven, Händel, and Chopin. Four years later, Ms. Zayas graduated from the Peyrellade Conservatory in Havana with a performance of the Schumann Concerto. At the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, she studied piano with Joseph Benvenuti and chamber music with René Le Roy, taking First Prize in both. In the United States, she studied with Adèle Marcus, David Bar-Illan, and Josef Raieff. She won a medal with distinction at the International Competition in Geneva, Switzerland, and a third prize at the Latin-American Teresa Carreño competition in Caracas, Venezuela. Ms. Zayas is happily married and has three sons.
Juana Zayas's recordings have been released on compact discs by Music & Arts Programs of America, by Albany Records, and by Zayas Masterworks, Inc. Further details about Juana Zayas's discography, repertoire and reviews can be seen on her web site at www.juanazayas.com.