Marta Stevanovic

portrait of woman

Marta Stevanovic studied voice and piano at PCM with Mariné Ter-Kazaryan, from 2001 to 2010. After finishing her studies at PCM, and graduating cum laude from Polytechnic School, Marta Stevanovic attended Harvard University. As a freshman, she joined the Radcliffe Choral Society, and later was involved in MIHNUET, a music service group that brings music to hospitals and nursing homes. Marta graduated magna cum laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She was a John Harvard Scholar and was a recipient of the Joseph Garrison Parker Prize, an award given annually to one premedical student with an “unusual breadth of interests outside the specifically premedical courses.”

After Harvard, Marta received a Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship, a merit-based full ride scholarship, to attend Emory University School of Medicine. During her first year at Emory, Marta continued to pursue her passion for music by joining the Emory University Chorus.

Marta recently completed her third year of medical school and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. She was also awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Foundation Fighting Blindness Medical Student Research Fellowship and will be taking a year away from medical school to conduct research at the University of Southern California and the University of California Santa Barbara.

1) How did you first get interested in studying music? Why voice and piano?

I initially started taking piano lessons with Mariné Ter-Kazaryan at PCM. I decided that I wanted to start voice lessons after I heard her sing at a concert and after I listened several of her voice students perform at recitals. Mariné was very supportive of my decision to pursue both piano and voice. Her passion for music was inspiring to me and her guidance and pedagogy throughout the years have not only helped me develop my musical skills but have also deepened my passion for music.

2) How has music study (and your continued participation in choruses and groups) impacted your academic life? Do you find it difficult to balance the two?

Music has had positive impact on my academic life. Performing is a great way for me to relieve stress and temporarily get my mind off of my exams and academic responsibilities. I remember in college that after choir rehearsal I frequently was better able to focus on my studies.

I also believe that learning how to perform is an essential skill that I gained through music. I learned the value of practice and discipline, how to calm my nerves while onstage, and how to think on my feet if something did not go as planned. All of these skills have served me well so far and I am sure will be invaluable in the future.

3) What role does music play in your daily life?

This past year I haven’t had as much time to perform or practice but I still love listening to music. Medical school can be demanding, so it is important to have a way to relax. I always listen to the radio during my commute and I even sing along sometimes!

I have also been fortunate to meet some of my closest friends through music, with whom I am still in touch today. Performing and enjoying music with other people is a very social activity. I remember learning in college that the heart rates of the ensemble singers accelerate and decelerate simultaneously. From a physiologic perspective, this phenomenon makes sense but I also think that it speaks to the social nature of singing in an ensemble. In a way, the singers’ hearts “beat as one” while they are performing together.

4) What type of concerts/music events do you attend?

Whenever I get a few spare moments from my busy medical school schedule, I like to attend concerts. I’ve been to several jazz concerts in Atlanta and have listened to a cappella groups and choir performances.

5) What music are you listening to today?

Whatever I’m in the mood for, which can be everything from classical music, jazz, and popular music!

6) What advice would you give to young music students?

I was always inspired by a quote, I believe from the composer Monteverdi, that one of my choir conductors used to say. It was, “Keep the beat with your heart, and not your hand.” It is important to never lose your passion for what you do.