Herald: Music for a cause

Music for a cause

10 Jan 2018 05:40am IST

Report by
Dolcy D’Cruz

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10 Jan 2018 05:40am IST

Report by
Dolcy D’Cruz

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Child’s Play India Foundation will be presenting a piano recital by Lara Saldanha, a benefit concert for the charity. Originally from Goa, Lara is coming down from the USA to perform her second concert with Child’s Play India Foundation

Indian-American pianist Lara Saldanha received

her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Northwestern University, studying with Alan Chow. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music at The New School’s Mannes School of Music in New York City, studying with Vladimir Valjarević. She will be performing her second concert in Goa for the Child’s Play India Foundation.

“I’m very excited to be returning to Goa to perform for the second time. I’m particularly thrilled to be supporting the Child’s Play Foundation. It’s always a privilege to get a concert engagement, but all the more rewarding when that concert will benefit a cause that I truly believe in – access to music education for all,” says Lara.

She will be playing Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘French Suite no. 2’ in C minor, Franz Josef Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat major Hob. XVI/49, Clara Schumann’s Sonata in G minor, and two of Olivier Messiaen’s Préludes – ‘La colombe’ (the dove) and ‘Un reflet dans le vent’ (a reflection in the wind.) “I’m particularly excited to share Clara Schumann’s sonata. I’ve been fascinated by Schumann since I was a child. Most people know her as the wife of the great composer Robert Schumann, but she was an equally fascinating person in her own right. She was a concert pianist and was actually better known than him in their time! Between her constant performing and the prejudices against female composers at the time, she didn’t write a huge amount of music. What she did write is quite lovely. There’s such a clear voice, and it’s a joy to dig into the life and work of this brilliant and utterly unique woman,” she explains.

Lara met the director of Child’s Play, Dr Luis Dias, while performing in Goa last year. She shares her experience with Child’s Play: “He invited me to visit the program, so I sat in on a couple of classes. I believe every child should have access to music education. It’s a challenge that exists in all parts of the world, so I was so happy to find that there is someone who is tackling it head-on in my ancestral state.”

Originally from Goa, all four of Lara’s grandparents are from Goa – both grandfathers are from Saligao, one grandmother grew up in Assnora, and the other, in Benaulim. “One of my grandmothers lives in Saligao and one in Mumbai currently, so those are the two places that I’ve been visiting since I was a child. These visits are my opportunity to spend time with my extended family. My grandmother is the most wonderful cook. She asks us what we want her to make, weeks in advance, and the results are invariably spectacular,” she says.

Through her visits to Goa, Lara plays keen attention to the way Western Classical music is growing in the state: “When I visited last year, I discovered that Goa has quite a lot of music infrastructure and potential –some beautiful concert halls, pianos and educational facilities. What Dr Luis has told me is missing are teachers. Children can’t learn to play music from a book or an instrument alone, no matter how smart or talented they are. It’s not an easy problem to solve, and I wouldn’t presume to suggest solutions having not grown up in Goa, but I’m working on learning more in order to help as much as I can.”

After her concert in Goa, Lara will be heading to Pune for the Poona Music Society on January 17 and then back to New York City, where she will be giving her Master’s degree graduation recital on February 11, 2018.

The Piano recital by Lara Saldanha, a benefit concert for the charity of Child’s Play India Foundation will be held at Institute Menezes Braganza, Panjim on January 14, 2018 at 6pm. Donation passes available at Furtados Music stores, and also at the concert

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