Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee, born in Somerville, Massachusetts, February 9, 1938, is a first generation Armenian-American whose father was a survivor of the genocide, and much of her music reflects a deep-rooted ethnic background. The strong influences of her first spoken language, Armenian, and of the folk music in the home where she grew up, are important elements in her musical language. Her early love for music was sparked by her mother, a talented violinist.
Dianne began her musical training as a pianist in Boston with Antoine Louis Moeldner, who studied with two of Leschetitzky's most illustrious pupils, Helen Hopekirk and Paderewski. The Moeldner-Hopekirk connection would have particular impact: Moeldner had been a teaching assistant to Ossip Gabrilovich, while Helen Hopekirk was herself a highly respected composer and pianist, and served as an early role model for Goolkasian Rahbee. The influence of this distinguished lineage was a powerful inspiration. She continued her studies at Juilliard as a piano major and at Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria studying chamber music with Enrico Mainardi. In later years, Dianne studied piano privately with David Saperton in New York and Lily Dumont, Russell Sherman, and Veronica Jochum in Boston. As a self-taught composer, she began writing pieces for her piano students and received encouragement to continue this work from Constance Keene and David Saperton among others.
At age 40, Goolkasian Rahbee began concentrating on composing, and has since produced a large body of works for piano solo, orchestra, instrumental ensembles, percussion, and voice. Her music is performed internationally, and many large festivals have featured her works in the U.S. and abroad.