Bizianes Siblings Share Their KIIS Stories – Alex In Greece
What prompted you to select the KIIS Greece program?
I was taking a Greek Mythology class at the University of Louisville from Dr. Steve Watkins. He happened to be a faculty member on the KIIS Greece study abroad program. He invited the program directors, Drs. Chris Shea and Richard King, to visit our class and give a presentation about the KIIS Greece program.
Since I have Greek heritage in my family, I had always wanted to go to Greece. It also was an exciting proposition since I had never been out of the States before. I spoke to Dr. Watkins about the trip, just letting him know I was interested. He immediately showed great excitement and told me he’d help me do whatever it took to get me on the trip.
I had never thought it possible to go on a study abroad program. Through Dr. Watkin’s class, I was introduced not only to the notion, but also to the probability of attending one. In addition, going to Greece was a big life goal of mine, and it was finally a possibility.
What were 1 or 2 benefits you received from studying on the KIIS Greece program?
The biggest benefit I received from studying abroad was to not take my hometown for granted. Too often in my high school and early college years, I had felt trapped being limited to my hometown. I had been to many different states in the U.S. but never had I been overseas.
As soon as arrived in the Athens airport, I realized that everything I knew about human interaction was limited to my experience in the U.S. Seeing different customs and manners helped me to realize how much I appreciated the comfort and accessibility of my hometown. I had never felt as much at home as when I got back to the States.
At the same time, I was also able to appreciate and even thrive within the framework of the Greek customs. There is so much beauty and history there that isn’t as present in Louisville.
How did your experiences abroad impact your academic/career choices after you returned?
Before studying abroad, I was sure that one day I would move away and start a career somewhere unfamiliar and blaze my own trail. My family owns and operates private music teaching studios. My sister Katherine (who studied on the KIIS Salzburg program) and all my cousins took piano lessons and were expected to have music as an intimate part of their lives.
After leaving to study abroad, I realized the fondness I felt toward my family and town. I embraced the family business and now I teach private music lessons full-time. I credit studying abroad in Greece as a huge part of my decision to stay and pursue a career in the family business.
What is your current job / profession?
Currently, I teach private, one-on-one music lessons full-time. I also record and produce local musicians and composers. All of this is done in the studios owned by my grandmother. In 1965, my grandfather decided to leave his teaching position in a different studio and open his own. He ended up purchasing a building on Bardstown Road.
The year he started his “Bizianes Music Mart,” my father and his twin brother were born. They were raised in the Music Mart, taking lessons and helping work on odd jobs around the store. When they graduated high school, the torch was passed to them, and they acquired their own schedule of private students. My father and uncle have been teaching music for over 30 years.
The same opportunity was afforded to my sister, Katherine (KIIS Salzburg alumna), and I, who obtained our own schedules. We each teach music to private students. She teaches violin, and I teach piano, guitar, accordion and a few other instruments. We each have our own schedules and our own studios, which are on the second floor of the Bizianes Music Mart.
At one point, my grandfather, father, uncle, sister, and I were all teaching there at the same time, until my grandfather passed away. The name Bizianes is known throughout Louisville as one of the top private instruction for music in the city. It’s up to my sister and I to carry on the reputation and improve upon it.
What are your hobbies/interests/volunteer activities?
My hobbies include running, hiking, fishing, canoeing, drawing, and listening to to/playing/ composing music. I recently have taken up Russian language lessons as well. My biggest hobby is learning in general. I love learning new things and sharing that passion with others.
I also am an Eagle Scout, so that propelled my interest in the outdoors and in leadership/ mentoring. I did a fair share of community service and mentorship while in Scouts, including selling Christmas trees, caroling at nursing homes, soliciting and delivering Dare to Care food donations, volunteering at soup kitchens, etc.
BFA in Drawing
University of Louisville
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