"When I went to college, I was going to be a concert pianist. And, after a little time at the Aspen Music Festival School and the realization I was going to end up teaching kids to murder Beethoven or maybe playing at a piano bar someplace, I had to find another line of work."
The former secretary of state signed on to answer reader-generated questions for TIME online when her childhood memoir was released in 2010. Condi talked about her unusual path to becoming a Soviet expert, offered opinions on foreign policy and cited Brahms as her favorite composer to play on piano.
Condoleezza began playing piano at an early age, initially planning to make a career of it. Though her professional aims took a very different turn towards political science, she still shares her talent with the public. She has performed high-profile charity gigs with everyone from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to soul singer Aretha Franklin. Condi even showed off her skills on a hilarious guest spot for the NBC sitcom 30 Rock.