ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – Rebeca Omordia
I’m not sure the artiste of this week knew she’ll later become a professional concert pianist, looking at how it all started.
Initially her mother bought a piano so she can at least learn how to play an instrument and then play it in church. Even though she wasn’t having any lessons at the time, she discovered that she really enjoyed the sound of the keys and gradually, she started improvising, making her own tunes.
When time came to start school, little Rebeca told her parents she wanted to be a pianist and wanted to go to the specialist music school in town instead of the local school. Her parents had a completely different plan for her. Like every other African father, Rebeca’s dad wanted her to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor, on the other hand, her mother wasn’t sure what she was going to turn into as she was a very energetic child and didn’t have patience for anything.
But they discovered that practising was the only thing that kept her busy for hours so they supported what at first seemed to be a hobby. Sooner than later, Rebeca’s piano teacher realised she was very talented and sent her to competitions which she won from the very first year. From then on, she appeared on National Television, playing the piano.
Rebeca Omordia was born in Romania to a Romanian mother and Nigerian father, call her a Nigerian-Romanian and that will suffice.
Mr Omordia who hails from Delta State Nigeria, went to Romania to study medicine and there he met Rebeca’s mother a native of Craiova in Romania and they got married.
People say you claim your father’s country but Rebeca claims both, due to the influence of both countries on her upbringing.
According to Rebeca, the good thing about Europe is that people first listen to what you play then they think of where you come from. The concert organisers always introduce her as a Nigerian – Romanian or Romanian – Nigerian pianist which makes it very interesting for the audience because of the mixture of two completely different cultures. For her, it’s really great to claim both countries, and she’s really proud of it.
Here, Rebeca speaks of Nigerian Classical Music.
“Nigerian Classical Music has been quite a recent discovery for me. I say recent as I discovered most of the Nigerian Classical composers in 2008.. Yes, shame it took that long but perhaps it was because not enough musicians have made these works known to the Western world, something I’m working on at the moment in partnership with the Nigeria High Commission in London. I already have Nigerian classical works in my repertoire – I love Ayo Bankole’s Piano Sonata no 2 or Akin Euba’s Pictures from Oyo Calabashes or Joshua Uzoigwe’s Nigerian Dances. I’ve performed these pieces a number of times in London and also in the United States in 2013 at the African & Afro American Music Festival in St Louis where the director of the festival, Fred Onovwerosuoke is a Nigerian composer. In 2013 I commissioned a piano work from him “5 Kaleidoscopes” . The music is great – the composers use same technique of writing as the Western Classical composers but their melodies and rhythms come from the traditional Nigerian folk music. This is something new to the Western world and the audience in the UK have been very open and receptive to it and I think it’s awesome. I believe more Nigerian Classical Musicians should include works by Indigenous composers in their repertoire and this way the Western audience will get used to the music and will embrace it as well as they embrace Mozart or Beethoven”
Rebeca Omordia also recognised the works of some Nigerian Classical Singers and didn’t fail to throw in words of encouragement.
“I was even reading in the news this morning about Ola Onabule – he is a jazz singer becoming more and more famous, currently touring Europe to great acclaim. There is also soprano Omo Bello, one of the most celebrated Nigerian Classical Singers currently making waves in Paris and Tenor Joe Oparamanuike who was nominated for Global Opera Music Award and of course rising stars Soprano Agatha Onyinye Ibeazor and Baritone Obinna Ifediora”
In 2006 Rebeca Omordia received a Bachelors Degree from National Music University in Bucharest, Romania, where she studied Piano with the renowned Pianist and Professor Dana Borsan, she then received a full scholarship at Birmingham Conservatoire in the UK where she received an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Piano Performance in 2009 on the highest course in the University which is also a pre-doctoral degree. In 2010 she received the Ofenheim full scholarship at Trinity College in London where she gained a Postgraduate degree in performance.
Yesterday, the of 14th February 2016, Rebeca performed at Blackheath Halls with the renowned cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, the wife of the renowned British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. She is a regular performer along Europe.
As much as Rebeca thinks Nigerian Classical Musicians are doing very well, she would love to see her people do better, here she says;
“Courage! More courage to claim their own country and to make known to the Western world their heritage – there’s so much music, so much art, so much culture in Nigeria that the Western world knows nothing about”
As a Nigerian Classical Musician, one thing makes me happy, the rate at which we are making waves globally. It may interest you to know that our own Agatha Onyinye Ibeazor made her American debut at the Carnegie Hall this past weekend. A lot more will follow this year, Nigerians are on the move.
Having said that, please put your hands for our very own Pianist.
I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY.
Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
30 Adenrele Street,