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Indian pianist Chelsea de Souza is a Steinway Young Artist equally at home in the worlds of traditional and new music. She has appeared in concert as a soloist and chamber musician across the US, Belgium, France, Germany and India, and performed live on NBC TV and Kansas Public Radio. A consummate chamber musician as well, Chelsea has performed with the contemporary ensembles at Oberlin Conservatory, the Peabody Institute and the Shepherd School, and with award-winning groups “Alarm Will Sound” and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. A committed performer of music by living composers, she has commissioned and premiered numerous works for solo piano and small ensemble at museums, colleges and festivals across the US. Together with her sister, soprano and pianist Chloe de Souza, she has given recital and masterclass tours across several cities in India, funded by outreach and entrepreneurship grants including the Shansi In-Asia Grant and the Oberlin Creativity and Leadership Fund.

Growing up in Mumbai, India, Chelsea’s musical roots were grounded in a blend of western classical and popular styles. Now she strives to explore issues of identity and culture in her performances through her versatile, genre-defying artistry. She was part of Oberlin’s Performance and Improvisation Series exploring jazz and world music for two years, including a Young Artist Residency with the Detroit String and Wind Society and performances at Cleveland Orchestra’s Severance Hall. She draws inspiration from the diverse artists she has worked with, including classical greats such as Leon Fleisher, Andras Schiff and Richard Goode, Grammy-award winning popular groups like the Punch Brothers and Snarky Puppy, and international musicians like Israeli jazz pianist-composer Alon Yavnai and Palestinian-American oud player Simon Shaheen. Her recent grant from New Music USA for her project “Blurred Origins: Redefining Culture through Music” funds the commission of a new work for cello and piano that refocuses discussions of culture around the individual, with particular emphasis on Asian-American voices. A singer as well, Chelsea was co-director of Oberlin’s longest-running all-female a cappella group ‘Nothing But Treble’.

Chelsea has won four All-India piano competitions, the IIYM International Piano Competition, the Oberlin Concerto Competition, the Global Scholar-Education World Young Achievers Award in Music and Arts, and second prizes at the 2020 Young Texas Artists and the 2019 Cranbrook Music Guild Emerging Artist competitions. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Politics and in Piano Performance and Vocal Accompanying from Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she studied with Peter Takacs, and a Master’s degree from the Peabody Institute of Music with Boris Slutsky. She is now pursuing her doctorate at the Shepherd School of Rice University with Jon Kimura Parker, and is a Young Artist Fellow with the DACAMERA Chamber Music and Jazz Series in Houston. In her spare time, Chelsea loves exploring cultures through experimenting in the kitchen, just as she does at the piano.

Houston, Texas, USA