By Sarah Kuper
St. Francis Music Academy began in 2015 as an extension of the Episcopal Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Indian Springs.
Now, as registration begins for fall courses, the academy’s leadership and music power couple, Dr. Alina Voicu and Daniel Szasz, are offering not only education on many types of music, but, for the first time, partial scholarships to qualifying students.
“The school offers a great variety of classes and courses as well as many other inspiring cultural events,” Szasz said, “our hope is that more people will discover the wonderful opportunities that are being offered.”
Voicu and Szasz are married and have been involved in the Alabama instrumental music scene for more than two decades.
Szasz is a celebrated violinist and has been concertmaster at the Alabama Symphony Orchestra since 1997. He will be honored this year at the organization’s Maestro’s Ball.
Voicu is an internationally recognized pianist, and she serves as director of music at the academy. She is a past president of the Birmingham Music Teachers Association and formerly served as director of instrumental music at Indian Springs School.
In developing the music academy, the couple hoped to provide more than just private music lessons.
The school offers courses in chamber music, choral instruction, AP level music history and music theory, plus family and musical wellness classes.
The academy’s Music Corner series engages with the community by hosting free performances and educational music events.
“The vision of the academy is not only fostering appreciation and love for music in every single student, but also engaging the community creatively and meaningfully,” Szasz said.
Having traveled the world performing, learning and teaching, the couple have brought their experience, passion and drive to a new generation of music students.
In a time when arts education may compete with other social and academic pursuits, Szasz said supporting organizations such as the ASO cannot be emphasized enough.
“It is through arts that we have the opportunity for self-expression, it is through arts that creativity can be nurtured and it is through arts that we can build emotional bridges to others who are different than us,” he said.
For the first time this year, the academy will offer partial scholarships to qualified students.
Voicu and Szasz said it is important for talented students to have access to excellent music instruction even if they may not be able to afford lessons. And, Szasz said, offering scholarships is bigger than just helping one student.
“Access to excellent education, including music education, is important for the well-being of our society.”
For more information and to register for classes, visit saintfrancisindiansprings.org and click on the Music Academy link. ❖