A Health Journey “Against All Odds”

From Body Casts to the Stages of the World from Viviana Guzman TV on Vimeo.

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Viviana Guzman photo by Susan Friedman

Viviana Guzman didn’t plan to be a musician, let alone one of the world’s most captivating flutists.  Born with bilateral hip dislocation in a small town in Chile, she was told by her doctors that she would never walk.  Determined to change her destiny, Viviana emigrated with her parents to America in search of the best medical care.  Eleven surgeries later, today she is a successful world class musician currently touring Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Argentina and Chile.

A true survivor, she grew up in and out of hospitals, body casts, wheelchairs, and crutches.  Refusing to see this as an impediment, Viviana started playing the accordion when she was 5.  By the time she was 7, she had won her first competition playing Tango at the local pizza parlor.  As she remembers gleefully, “I was thrilled to have won 1st place as the prize was free pizza for an entire year!”

That same year, she began piano and dance lessons.  “When I was 7 years old and in a body cast,” she remembers, “the only thing I could do was read.  But if they flipped me over on my hospital gurney, I found that I could play the piano.  Hence, I started my piano lessons.  For a young girl, physical therapy is a little repetitive and boring.  I decided to take ballet lessons which I found much more interesting.  And this is how my dance classes began.”

Eleven surgeries later, Viviana walks perfectly.

Today, Viviana is a true success story.  She is a vibrant, globe-trotting, jet-set gypsy flutist and dancer performing up to 80 concerts a year in 86 countries and in all seven continents including Argentina, Singapore, Bali, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Greenland, Iceland, Sweden, South Africa, Namibia, Tahiti, Fiji, China, Japan and Korea.  A graduate of the Juilliard School and former member of the New World Symphony in Miami as well as the Houston Grand Opera, her music carries influences from her travels as she performs Classical, Tango, Samba, Celtic and other World Music.  She has performed with such luminaries as Placido Domingo, John Denver and Glenn Close and she’s graced the stage of Carnegie Hall five times.  Be sure to catch her this Fall 2009 as she performs in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Chile and Argentina.