Alla Yashneva was born in Tuapse, Russia; a small town in southern Russia on the Black Sea. It had a population around 56,000. Oil was the major industry, with a large refinery and sea port. Most everyone worked at the refinery, as did both of Alla's parents. Her mother was a machine operator and her father was an electrical engineer. They worked around the clock while Alla stayed with her grandmother where she had a relatively normal childhood.
Alla first became interested in music at the age of six. She was visiting some family friends who were very fortunate to have a piano. She tried, as most kids do, to pick out a few tunes. Alla's mother noticed her interest, so she put her daughter on a waiting list to acquire a piano. Pianos were not widely available like in America. Not only were they hard to get, but very expensive. A piano at that time was about 550 rubles and her father's salary was 120 rubles per month. It is easy to see that this was a major purchase, but somehow they did it. Alla's mother also arranged for lessons.
When she was eight years-old, Alla took private piano lessons for just one year. After the year was complete, she applied for an advanced music program at a government school. This required a special exam before admission because there were few openings. Alla began to cry when she learned she did not make it in the class.
However, a lady came to her and asked her if she would like to try another instrument. This lady was Mariana Sholokhova. Marianna took Alla to the harp studio. Alla immediately fell in love with the harp. She says, “If someone asks me why I choose the harp I always say I did not choose the harp; the harp chose me!” Alla studied Theory and History of Music, Orchestra, chorus, ensemble and Piano. These subjects were separate from her normal school studies.
At fifteen Alla entered college after passing the examination. She decided t become a professional musician. She attended the musical college for four years; she was accepted into the conservatory where she studied for six years earning her Masters degree. While there, she became a teacher. In 1992 she was promoted to Deputy Director of the college where she worked for another ten years. In 2002, Alla was offered a teaching position in Hong Kong at the Music and Drama Institute where she both taught and performed.
Coming to America
Alla was performing in Hong Kong when she met the man who would become her husband. They eventually moved together to Phoenix, Arizona.
Alla has many memorable performances. Some of her favorites included playing for the new president of Hong Kong. She enjoyed her solo recitals at St. John's Cathedral. After coming to the United States, she performed for Brian and Sandra Day O'Connor (Supreme Court Justice); a CBS television special; Indy race car driver, Danica Patrick; and Janet Napolitano Inaugural Dinner. Recently, she performed at the Orpheum Theatre with the Phoenix Symphony, the Celebrity Theatre, as well as the new Performing Arts Theatre in Peoria.
Alla has played over 50 weddings and 20 corporate events since moving to the Phoenix area with many more to her credit while living in several countries. She also enjoys teaching harp to aspiring students through private teaching, workshops, and through the production of instructional materials.