Prominent Goan musicians and pro musica will join conductor Victor Rangel-Ribeiro and the Goa Chamber Ensemble in a free concert at the Kala Academy on February 22, to celebrate the life of the late Lea Rangel-Ribeiro, who is remembered both as a fine pianist and a charismatic educator.
Admission is free, and children will be welcome in recognition of Lea’s decades-long career as a principal at the UN International School in New York where she gave music education a high priority. Participants will include Pheroze Mistri, violinist and conductor of the Goa State String Orchestra; violinist Myra Shroff, who led the GSSO as its concertmistress for several years; the pianist Margarida Miranda, former director of the Kala Academy’s Western Music Division; cellist Teresa de Mello, the current acting director; and Ashley do Rego, prize winner in the recent David Menezes Violin Competition. Lea’s and Victor’s daughter Eva will be the soloist in a piano concerto.
All the music being played has links to Lea’s personal and professional life. Mistri will perform Massenet’s hauntingly beautiful “Meditation” from Thais, while Eva will be featured in the main work of the evening, Bach’s Piano Concerto in D minor. The first half will also include a piano trio by Mozart, performed by Margarida Miranda and Ashley and Elvina do Rego. Eva will end the second half with several works for solo piano, including two nocturnes by Chopin, and “Saudades”, a composition by her grandfather, Oscar Rangel Ribeiro.
Eva began her piano studies at the age of four. At age 11 she played a concerto with orchestra at the prestigious Grace Rainey Auditorium of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, was admitted to the Juilliard Pre-College Division, and earned her degree after studying at the Mannes College of Music and Hunter College with such renowned teachers as Edith Oppens and Bruce Hungerford. But when audience members sometimes ask: “And where did you get your musical training?” Eva impishly replies: “I learnt my music in my mother’s womb.”
Lea (nee Vaz) began her professional musical career in Mumbai at age 16; she was a student first of Olga Craen and then of Joseph de Lima. Admitted to the celebrated Juilliard School of Music, her farewell concert in Mumbai included Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A and also Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasy. In New York City, Lea’s public performances included the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto and the Bach D minor concerto with orchestra. She also appeared in chamber music concerts and broadcast solo recitals regularly over the New York City radio station before strict American immigration laws forced her to go into teaching if she wanted to settle in the United States. Invited to join the UN International School as a fifth grade teacher, within seven years she was promoted to principal. She held the post for 32 years, a role that won her international recognition, including an award from St John’s University in New York for outstanding contributions to education.