Lola Gjoka or Lola Aleksi (26 May 1910 – 6 October 1985) was an Albanian pianist.
26 May 1910
|Died||6 October 1985 (aged 75)|
Gjoka was born in Sevastapol in 1910, in an Albanian family. She began learning the piano at the age of six, and her success was such that her father arranged for her to have lessons from the pianist Karalovy. In 1932 her family moved to Korçë, where Gjoka worked as an accompanist for singers including the soprano Tefta Tashko-Koço, the Albanian folk singer Marie Kraja, and Mihal Ciko.
In 1933 she won a significant prize in an international piano competition in Vienna, which got her a job to teach piano at the Institute for Girls in Tirana. She graduated with honours from the Athens Conservatory in 1936.
Gjoka, along with Maria Kraja, a notable singer of traditional Albanian Urban Lyric Songs, worked together and they recorded over 300 songs. By today's standards the recordings were not prefect; however they still survive today as a record of Albanian musical culture.
During the Italian occupation of Albania Gjoka appeared in Italian stages. In November 1944 she played at a concert in Tirana to celebrate the end of German occupation. She was one of the first teachers at the "Jordan Misja" high school in 1947. The school was targeted at artistically talented children. Additionally, in 1951, Gjoka became a concertmaster at the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Albania. As a result, Gjoka translated the libretto from Antonín Dvořák's opera Rusalka into Albanian.
On 15 January 1962 a Conservatory was founded in Tirana (Konservatori Shteteror i Tiranes, which was merged in 1966 into the Academy of Arts in Tirana), and Gjoka was in the first group of teachers she combined with giving concerts. She primarily performed in Albania, but she also presented to China, Bulgaria, Greece, the USSR, Romania, and Cuba. In 1976 she appeared in the film Tinguj lufte (Sounds of War) as a pianist and three years later she also appeared in the movie Ballë për ballë (Face to Face).
Gjoka died in Tirana in 1985, at the age of 75. For her work she was awarded the titles of "Merited Artist" and "People's Artist". An award for young pianists in Albania was founded in her name.
In 2002, Hamide Stringa wrote her biography.
- Lajme (19 June 2010). "Përkujtohet 100-Vjetori I Pianestes Lola Gjoka". Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Alma Mile. "Lola Gjoka ta bindesh burimin ne pentagram". Shqiperia.com. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- Eno Koço (2004). Albanian Urban Lyric Song in the 1930s. Scarecrow Press. pp. 79–80, 59. ISBN 978-0-8108-4890-0.
- "Faculty of Music history". Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "Lola Gjoka". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Roland Çene (24 February 2013). "Nje monografi per pianisten e pare shqiptare" [A monograph about the first Albanian pianist] (PDF). Rilindasi: 21.
...instrumentistes së parë shqiptare, pianistes Lola Gjoka (Aleksi) 'Artiste e Popullit'.
- Hamide Stringa (2002). Një jetë mbi tastierë: Lola Gjoka (Aleksi). Toena.