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Music-lovers in Goa still fondly remember the phenomenal concert given by young Julian Clef at the Kala Academy in 2010. (Read my review of that evening here).

Since then, he has not exactly been idle, as the above article in the June 2012 issue of BBC Music Magazine  will attest. It is no mean feat to be singled out for mention as one of the “Great Artists of Tomorrow” in such an acclaimed classical music magazine.

He was one of three musicians to be awarded an RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester) Gold Medal in 2011.

His stunning performance at that event got him snapped up by the leading international music management company Hazard Chase, which represents the world’s renowned artists and has on its list Piers Lane, Benjamin Grosvenor, and Martin Roscoe (piano); Pinchas Zukerman (violinist and violist); Viviane Hagner, Jennifer Pike, and Anthony Marwood (violin); Julian Bream (guitar); and the Brodsky  and Endellion string quartets.  

James Brown, Julian’s manager at Hazard Chase reminisces on the website:

Within moments of Julian starting his recital, I had no doubt that he was a very special artist. It was an easy decision to offer him representation and I look forward enormously to working with him….

A number of people have been key to Julian reaching this point, and of course his own talent, commitment and dedication have been crucial. I hope we will also be able to play a significant role now, delivering the major career he so richly deserves”.

His concert tour of Canada that year was a grand success. image

Julian Clef takes a bow after performing Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto at the RCNM in March 2012

In July this year, he was invited to Andras Schiff’s masterclass at Beethoven-Haus, Bonn. He was allowed the rare opportunity to play on Beethoven’s own Broadwood 1817 instrument while there.

He’s slated to perform at the prestigious Dvořák Festival Prague on 20 September, 2012. It is a huge honour to jostle shoulders with the top guns of the classical music world, from our very own Zubin Mehta (he conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden the day before Clef’s concert), to the Capuçon brothers, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. It is a tacit acknowledgement of the regard that Clef has garnered for himself in the unforgiving, perfectionist world of classical music.

Here’s what Benjamin Frith has to say about Clef:

Julian has a musical and pianistic maturity well beyond his years. He gives performances of great beauty, without mannerism or distortion. Already very experienced, he is totally composed on stage and he possesses a remarkably relaxed technique with which he brings the music so vividly to life”

I think it is a crying shame that Clef’s home state of Kerala cannot offer him the bare minimum of a concert-grand piano to perform upon when he makes return visits home. He was forced to make do with an upright piano last month in Thiruvananthapuram! 

We as a nation should be doing so much more to laud this young wunderkind of his instrument.

At a time when India is seen as one of the major economic superpowers of the world, is it so difficult to acquire one decent concert-grand piano in such a large state? This would fulfil a need not just for Clef, but would encourage other world-class pianists to perform in Kerala too, thereby enriching its cultural life. And creating a platform for future home-grown rising stars!

Are the powers-that-be in the government and the private sector listening?

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