Keane Southard - Interview with Ricardo Castro, Founder and Director of Neojiba
"Ricardo Castro, the founder and director of Neojiba, let me sit down and interview him this week to learn more about the organization. Before creating Neojiba, he says that his story is of the typical successful classical pianist. He was born in the interior of Bahia but grew up in Salvador, started playing piano at age 3 and had a natural knack for it. He saved enough money to go to Europe at age 18 and studied there, then started winning competitions (including the Leeds Piano Competition in 1993,) recorded CDs, performed with orchestras all around the world, and made friends with other pianists like Martha Argerich, Friedrich Gulda, Alicia de Larrocha, and Nelson Freire. But being around older pianists like this showed him that something was missing in this life of a traveling concert pianist and that it could be very lonely. What seemed to be missing for him was teaching and collaborating. In the early 90s, he took a post teaching masterclasses for one week a month at a conservatory in Switzerland, a position he still holds, and started a piano duo with the Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires. Through Pires, who shares many of his views on collaborative music and how it can be used socially, Castro was able to learn about a music project that she developed in Portugal and began to visit similar projects in Bahia to help."
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