Going from piano concert performer and piano master teacher to entrepreneur and founder of the new “Family Enrichment and Therapy Center” (The Family ETC”) on the island, Key Biscayne resident Amarylli Fridegotto has mastered the art of hitting the right keys both on her baby grand and in everyday life.
Versatility, perseverance, boldness, and zealous determination define this accomplished musician and exuberant businesswoman.
After earning a degree in languages at the “Sacred Heart” high school in Padova, Italy, she graduated with honors in Piano from the Venice Music Conservatory “B. Marcello.” Fridegotto, who stepped into a piano career at the tender age of 9, later completed several master’s, including one in Piano Interpretation from “Hochschule fur Musik” in Salzburg, Austria; one in the prestigious “Fundazione Cini” in San George Island (Venice, Italy), and another in “Applied Music Education” in Paris, France.
“My mother is an opera singer, and my father was an industrialist who spent each day creating and building,” Fridegotto said.
Endowed with a talent for the piano, she devoted her life to the study of music and has performed in illustrious venues, such as the “Teatro Regio di Parma” in Italy and “Bulgaria Hall” in Sofia, Bulgaria, as well as royalty palaces throughout Europe. She also has participated in several concerts for non-profit foundations such as UNICEF and the European “Red Cross.”
Fridegotto’s entrepreneurial side emerged upon the death of her father, who she describes as “a source of constant inspiration” and “my role model.” Her concerts and teaching curriculum overseas came to a sudden halt when she left Italy to oversee her late father’s manufacturing industries in Venezuela.
“It was both a trauma and a challenge,” recalled Fridegotto who began her hands-on business training there.
Determined to succeed, she learned the ropes and mastered the entire manufacturing process involved in each of the industries, from raw material to the finished product and human resource management.
“I managed the company for three years until two attempted kidnappings and chronic fatigue syndrome forced me to leave Venezuela,” Fridegotto said.
“A woman who fights for her passions and for her ideals — freedom, respect, and justice — who is uncompromising, and who, whenever she falls under the blows of life, rises even stronger from the ashes, like a phoenix” is how Fridegotto describes herself.
In 2006, she and her then-husband settled in Key Biscayne, which she said reminded her of her “beloved Venice.” It did not take long for the enterprising and energetic mother of two to make her cultural mark on the city by founding two Children’s and Youth Orchestras and “The Key Biscayne Piano Academy,” which offers piano classes for children and adults from beginners to professionals.
This month, Fridegotto launched “The Family Enrichment and Therapy Center” (The Family ETC), a concept combining psycho-social well-being with academic and cultural fulfillment.
“I am the first seed of what is now a spectacular team of professionals with a humane perspective, and it is growing each day,” said Fridegotto, who, along with speech therapist Annie Rabassa Thompson, has been putting together a team of clinical therapists for the center.
“The Family ETC grew out of a meeting with a bright student’s mother, who was in tears and felt desperate and frightened upon learning that her child was diagnosed with a learning disability,” Fridegotto explained.
This mother of three, who had recently arrived from Venezuela and was new to the system, had been informed that the therapies needed for her son were outside the island.
“I put myself in her place as a mother and thought of how wonderful it would be to have on the Key a center housing all the therapies for children and adolescents with and without learning disabilities,” Fridegotto said.
Among the numerous specialties that the professionals at “The Family ETC” offer are Speech Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Psychiatry, Psychology (developmental and cognitive assessment), Clinical Psychology (individual and group therapy), Mediation and Parenting, Psychotherapy, Marriage and Family Counseling, Special-ED Tutoring, Clinical Art Therapy, and Drama Therapy.
“I expanded the concept from one that was child-centric to one also focused on the world around the child or adolescent — namely, his or her family and society,” she said.
Thus, she incorporated into the mix alternative therapies, such as Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Reiki, Cranio-sacral Therapy for children, as well as intellectual development and cultural events, seminars, workshops and other activities in collaboration with European Cultural Centers.
“An all-in-one center,” she noted with pride.
Perceived by her peers as incisive, brilliant, passionate and altruistic, Fridegotto said she finds herself “transformed in the presence of a child. My love for children and protective instincts lead me to defend them always.”
A native of Veneto, a region in Northern Italy where she said “entire families work in the family business even on Sundays,” Fridegotto has hard work and the desire to excel running through her ancestral blood. A sense of gratitude is never far behind, as she thanks God for her two children and the U.S. for welcoming her with open arms.
“In this country, if you love what you do and have a devotion to work, you can still make your dreams come true,” she said. “I am someone who achieves her goals, or at the very least, always gives 100 percent of herself. It is not the need to go to work every day to support myself and my family financially which gets me out of bed every morning, but the passion for what I do,” she emphasized.
“The Family ETC is my mission now,” Fridegotto said as she gazes far into the horizon.
The Family Enrichment and Therapy Center (www.thefamilyetc.com) and the Key Biscayne Piano Academy (www.kbpianoacademy.com) are located at 240 Crandon Blvd., Suites 102 and 246, respectively. For questions or additional information, call 305-608-3869.