by Jarrett Hoffman
If you had to pick one thing that symbolizes Mahani Teave — pianist, cultural ambassador, and environmental activist — an easy choice would be the Rapa Nui School of Music and the Arts, the first music school on that remote island 2,000 miles off the coast of mainland Chile, with a population of 8,000.
Co-founded by Teave, the school brings together the studies of classical music and of the traditional music of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. It’s also a symbol of conservationism, built out of recycled tires, bottles, and cans, and made self-sustainable thanks to rainwater collectors and solar panels.
It says a lot that when Teave received the attention of just about the entire classical music world in 2021 with her debut album, Rapa Nui Odyssey, she found herself not so much overwhelmed by the attention, or basking in the glow of fame, but rather grateful for the opportunity to spread the word about her school and help keep it going — not an easy endeavor.
Now she is in the midst of a North American tour in which she is largely playing selections from that album — and the tour is bringing her back to Northeast Ohio, where she studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music.