Young pianist set to give her first orchestra performance in city | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Young pianist set to give her first orchestra performance in city

mumbai Updated: Apr 29, 2011 01:23 IST
Aarefa Johari
Aarefa Johari
Hindustan Times
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Hits from Broadway musicals will resound at the Tata Theatre this Saturday, but that is not the only treat awaiting music enthusiasts during the Bombay Chamber Orchestra’s (BCO) annual summer concert.

The recital will feature piano soloist Chelsea de Souza, 17, who, going by her achievements, is one of the most promising young pianists emerging in Mumbai.

De Souza, who has been acing national level piano competitions since she was 10, won the worldwide piano competition organised by the Kansas-based International Institute for Young Musicians (IIYM) last August. The recital on Saturday will be her first performance with an orchestra in the city.

“In Western classical music, Indian musicians rarely reach beyond the national level at a young age, and winning the IIYM competition was a big deal for me because I was pitted against the finest young pianists in the world,” said de Souza, who started piano lessons at 5 and just finished her Class 12 exams from Cathedral and John Connon School.

Her list of laurels includes winning first place in Mehli Mehta Music Foundation’s All-India Piano Competition at age 10, a runner-up position in the same contest at 14, when she was the youngest participant in the under-30 group, and the top prize at Furtado’s Con Brio national piano competition last year.

“I grew up listening to my parents play the piano and took it up because it is something I love to do,” said de Souza, who plans to study music and economics in the US and may not make music her full-time career.

In Saturday’s concert, de Souza will play a piece by Dmitri Shostakovitch from the Hollywood film The Unforgettable Year 1919. The rest of the concert, however, will largely be songs from Broadway, a theme that the BCO has returned to after several years.

“This is a favourite theme with the audience because they know the music and feel they can participate much more than in a purely classical concert,” said Celia Paige Vickery, the American guest conductor who is in Mumbai for her fourth concert trip to Mumbai to conduct the BCO.