Chelsea de Souza was born in Mumbai, India in 1993. She began playing piano from a young age, balancing academics and music throughout grade school; she participated in piano competitions across India as well as internationally. She also studied music abroad in Cologne, which compelled her to pursue music professionally. Upon graduating high school, she moved to the US for her higher education, obtaining bachelor's degrees in piano performance and in politics from Oberlin College in 2016; she got her master's in piano performance from Peabody Institute in 2019, after which she came to Shepherd School of Music at Rice University to pursue her doctorate. In Houston, she's provided music for museums and worked with a school for neurodivergent children (both via the Da Camera Young Artist Program), as well as played benefit concerts to raise awareness for social issues; she also works as a church pianist and has generally involved herself in communities around the city in addition to her piano studies. In this interview, she discusses her childhood and schooling in Mumbai; her musical development both in India and abroad; her studies at Oberlin and Peabody and experiences formative to her personal life and career in the US; the pandemic and how it caused her to reflect on her life and the world more broadly; maintaining relationships across long distances and time; and more.
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