Rada (Radmila) Neal began her life in a refugee camp in Germany, the daughter of two Yugoslavian refugees. Her family survived and her parents realized their dream of moving their family to a safe and prosperous environment. Her family's immigration was sponsored by the Serbian Church in Jan 1951. According to her mother's diary, the trip from Germany to New York took 48 hours. (Rada was 7 weeks old and her older sister was 2). They took the train from New York to Chicago. Six months later they moved to East Chicago, Indiana, where her father was hired into the steel mill industry.
Her parents belong to a world community of people that are chased away from their homeland. They were in new country. They had no family closer than 5000 miles. They had little education and did not speak English. But they worked hard, raised four daughters, and funded all their educations.
Rada's first piano was given to her family by their neighbors. Soon after the piano was placed in the basement Rada's mom noticed her curiousity and found a teacher to come to their home. Rada had already begun to learn the violin in school so she understood the treble clef.
Over the years her family moved and finding teachers became more difficult but she continued to play and sight-read. Sometimes on a Saturday her mother would take her to Bud Pressner's music store in Gary, Indiana. Rada recalls leafing through the bins of music and returning home with a pile of music. Once home, she remembers she would not leave the piano until she had sight-read everything.
Rada studied music at the School of Music at Indiana University at Bloomington, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree.
Composing began later in life. As Nadia Boulanger said, "composers don't choose to compose, rather it chooses them."
Rada has recorded eight CDs of her original piano music and one CD of original Christmas song arrangements.
Her CDs include:
WHISPERS OF WINTER (original arrangements)
Rada has had the privilege of performing during the 1988 SUPER-BOWL half-time show, CARNEGIE HALL and THE GRAND OLE OPRY. Rada Neal taught music from 1977 to 2003 at the FRANCIS PARKER SCHOOL in San Diego, and has performed in various southern California venues. She continues to practice, study, compose and record. Along with her sidekick "Mr. Maestro," she is finding the keys to capture your soul.
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