by Dr. Luis Dias

On 10 January 2010, Pro Musica, in collaboration with EPTA (European Piano Teachers’ Association), present a piano recital by a formidable musician-scholar, Nancy Lee Harper. The concert will be at St Inez church at 7 pm. Entry is free. 

Dr Harper’s performances have spanned four continents, many of them in prestigious institutions such as the Juilliard and Eastman Schools of Music, drawing forth rave reviews. She has also given Masterclasses worldwide. 

An American national, she currently lives in Portugal, where she is Associate Professor with Distinction at the Universidade de Aveiro. 

In 2003, Dr. Harper completed the first U. K. Certificate Course in Music Medicine offered by ISSTIP “with Distinction” and now supervises post-doctoral work in that area. She is the founder-President of EPTA-Portugal. Having completed the first UK certificate course in Music-Medicine “With Distinction”, she has developed disciplines within the Masters of Music in Performance degree in this area at UA. In 2005, she was featured on the cover of Piano Journal and was the interviewee subject by Carola Grindea published in Great Pianists and Pedagogues in Conversation with Carola Grindea (London: Kahn & Averill, 2007). In 2006, she was nominated for a prize from the Samii-Houseinpour Foundation in Belgium. 

She has explored Ibero-american music intensively, including performances of several world premières (5 viñetas para piano emocionado by Eurico Carrapatoso in Poltava, Ukraine; Rhapsody for flute and piano by James Wintle in Funchal, Madeira, Lírios roxos do campo by Amilcar Vasques Dias in Sernecilche, Portugal; 2 CDs of Portuguese 20th-century composers on the Numérica label in 1999, 2006). Several of her performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio (USA) Portuguese national radio (Antenna 2), and Portuguese national television (RTP 2). 

Dr. Harper holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of North Texas at Denton (1985), as well as a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Texas at Austin (1970). She is also an accomplished harpsichordist/fortepianist. Post-graduate studies were done at the Royal Academy of Music in London in harpsichord, accompanying, chamber music and composition. Her piano teachers have included: Larry Walz, Ralph Berkowitz, Frank Mannheimer, Dalies Frantz, Denise Lassimonne, Verna Harder, Nena Wideman, and coaching with Carola Grindea. 

Dr. Harper is the author of several books and more than seventy articles in scientific journals and encyclopaedias. Her books include Manuel de Falla: a Bio-bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1998), Manuel de Falla: His Life and Music (Scarecrow Press, 2005), Portuguese Piano Music: A Brief Introduction and Annotated Bibliography (with CD, forthcoming, Scarecrow Press) Correntes pedagógicas no ensino de música: uma introdução (forthcoming, Editorial da Universidade de Aveiro) and a chapter “Baroque Fingering: What can the Modern Pianist Learn?” in Joseph Banowetz’s The Pianist’s Guide to Fingering (forthcoming, Indiana University Press).

Her concert in Goa spans the gamut of the pianistic repertoire, beginning with two Songs without Words (Lieder ohne Wörte) by F. Mendelssohn,  a sonata by F. J. Haydn in E flat major (nº 51, Hob.XVI/38),  proceeding to Schumann’s monumental Symphonic Etudes. The recital continues with Maurice Emmanuel’s Sonatina No. 4, op. 20, “Sur des modes hindous” (presumably chosen specifically for her recital in India), moving on from there to a work (Nocturne in D flat major) by the Portuguese genius António Fragoso, whose tragically short lifespan was a huge blow to music. The programme concludes with F. Chopin’s Ballade in G minor No.1, Op. 23, and Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 8.

It promises to be a concert to be remembered for a long time to come.

This article appeared in the Herald, Goa India on 8 January 2010