Grace and Alexa

This gallery is part of an ongoing series of photographic studies of the relationship between mothers and their adult children.

Grace and Alexa Babakhanian, both native New Yorkers, are members of a three-generation household. Both lead creative lives that, while separate, often intersect. Grace works with words and Alexa with words, multi-media and music.

At age six, Alexa won a national piano competition and was later accepted by the Juilliard School, where she earned a BM and MA. In addition to appearing widely as a singer-songwriter, she began to compose music for other instruments and in various styles. Her most recent work is a filmed rehearsal and performance of “And A Child Went Forth”. Based on a Walt Whitman poem and using unconventional instruments, the piece brings together two groups of non-professional performers: children from 1 to 18 and adults over 65. It was performed on Make Music NY Day at St. George's Church on Gramercy Park

Starting off as a weekend announcer for the University of Illinois’s classical music station, Grace fell into a full-time career as a producer/writer/talk show host and arts critic in radio and television. Since returning to her birthplace, NYC, Grace has written reviews and commentary for publications such as Dance Magazine. Variety and Kirkus Review, and has blogged for The Huntington Post. Recently she’s been writing fiction and plays. One of her short stories won a prize and her multi-media play, “Video Absurdo,” was given a staged reading at La Mama this past October.

Mother and daughter are now contemplating a joint multi-media project that amalgamates their talents,

Their mutual pride and joy is Etenraku (Ettie), Alexa’s son -- Grace’s two and 1 half year old grandson -- whose name is inspired by an ancient haunting melody from China. Originating before Christ, Etenraku (越天楽, (literally ‘music brought from heaven’) is now a powerful symbol in Japan, performed as part of gagaku melody and dance.