The Silk Road: A Tale of Musical Trade between East and West
A lecture-recital by Chelsea de Souza, piano
Debussy: Pagodes, from Estampes
Debussy: Reflets dans l’eau, from Images Bk. I
Takemitsu: Rain-Tree Sketch
Chopin: Preludes, Op. 28, Nos. 15 & 16
Sorabji: In the Hothouse
Esmail: Rang de Basant
The Silk Road was a network of Eurasian trade routes that facilitated economic and cultural interactions between the East and West for over a millennium. Although it no longer exists, cultural exchange between the East and West has only intensified as the boundaries between cultures and nations become increasingly blurred. This program presents the music of composers who have been significantly influenced by their Western or Eastern contemporaries, beginning with Debussy’s encounter with Javanese gamelans at the 1889 World Fair in Paris and his consequent fascination with Eastern philosophy, and a similar cultural shift thrown into reverse with Toru Takemitsu’s use of Debussy’s impressionist musical language to express a Japanese ethos. The second half focuses on two composers of Indian origin, UK-born and Parsi-identifying Sorabji and US-born Reena Esmail, each of whom expresses their dual ties to India and the West in diametrically opposing ways. I ask the question – how does identity, whether it is constructed by the self or perceived by others, take shape in music?
Known for her dynamic artistry and thought-provoking recital programming, Indian pianist Chelsea de Souza is a Steinway Young Artist equally at home in the worlds of traditional and new music. The four-time All-India Piano Competition winner has been interviewed on NBC TV, performed live on public radio, and appeared in concerts across the US, Belgium, Germany, France, and India. 2022-23 season highlights include appearances for Minnesota Orchestra’s summer season, the Rothko Chapel, the Menil Collection and Cypress Creek FACE; performances with New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck for Artists at the Center; and a commissioning Project Grant from New Music USA. A consummate chamber musician, Chelsea has performed at La Jolla Summerfest 2022, as a Young Artist Fellow with the DACAMERA Chamber Music and Jazz Series in Houston, and with award-winning groups “Alarm Will Sound” and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she also teaches classes in music theory and hybrid music of the Indian diaspora.
An NCPA Presentation