Photo credit to Dr. Michael Baron.

The daughter of two engineers, Navarro’s family moved to Lima so she could study at a pre-engineering high school for students gifted in mathematics. Although she graduated as valedictorian at age 15, Navarro had already decided her career would be in music. She had been studying for seven years under Lydia Hung, the former director of the National Conservatory in Lima. “She was looking for a safe, good place where Priscila could go to school,” Baron says of his first encounter with Hung.

Although Navarro was in Michigan at Interlochen Center for the Arts at the time, Baron quickly arranged for her to receive a full-ride scholarship to FGCU upon watching a video of her performances.

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The soft-spoken piano virtuoso grew up fast, traveling solo abroad at an early age, and quickly adjusted to campus life on Florida’s Gulf Coast. “It is very good to help you grow,” says Navarro, who plans to continue advanced studies at FGCU. “It’s a nice size. It’s not too big and not too small.” Bower has about 150 music students, with much of the faculty serving adjunct from the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.

While the international music community is starting to recognize Bower, most Estero residents don’t know what a cultural gem they have in their community, Albergo says.

“Every time people come in, they are stunned at the facilities we have,” she marvels. “I think Estero doesn’t understand yet what Florida Gulf Coast University and the Bower School of Music and the Arts has to offer.”

FGCU should be at the forefront when considering venues for cultural performances, she adds. Each month they offer faculty, guest and student performances, with good parking, low ticket prices, and top-notch talent. Baron and Navarro frequently perform together. They were the featured talent for a benefit “Two- Piano Concert” last month, which raised funds for the music program. Baron will be performing in a “Faculty Trio” April 3, along with David Cole on violin and Si-Cheng Liu on cello.

Other April concerts include a Jazz Ensemble, Wind Orchestra, Chamber Winds and Percussion Ensemble, String Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Chamber Choir Concert. For a full schedule, visit www.fgcu.edu/cas/bsma.