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If you look at the listings of the major orchestras in America you will see two things in common; very few of them are programming major pieces by women composers, and almost none have a woman on the podium. Despite the abundance of wonderful compositions by women, the world of classical music has been, for centuries, a man’s world.

Mahani Teave, pianist, educator, and environmentalist

The world’s preeminent Rapa Nui (Easter Island) musician

Pianist, educator, and environmentalist Mahani Teave was born in Honolulu and grew up on Easter Island, 22 hundred miles of the coast of Chile. She is one of the world’s preeminent Rapa Nui (Easter Island) musicians. She fell in love with her instrument when the first piano arrived on Easter Island with a visiting teacher in 1992. 

She went on to earn music degrees from Austral University in Chile, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Hanns Eisler Music School in Berlin. After concert tours of North and South America, Europe and Asia, Teave returned home to establish the Easter Island Music School, which offers classical and traditional Polynesian music lessons. The school is self-sustaining, using only recyclable materials, solar energy, and water collectors. The school also has an organic agro-ecological project to help create a more environmentally sound island. 

In 2020, producer and filmmaker John Forsen released a documentary, Song of Rapa Nui, focusing on Teave’s life journey through music as well as her environmental work. Teave believes in the healing power of music, and regularly performs in hospitals, jails, and low income areas to bring joy and hope to others.

Mahani Teave: Tiny Desk Concert