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Interviews |  26 Dec 2020 12:20 |  By Tolika Yeptho

Indian Classical Pianist Shivank Menon finds inspiration from other people’s music

MUMBAI: 16-year-old Indian Classical Piano Prodigy, Shivank Menon collaborated with British Clarinet virtuoso, Mark Buckingham, and one of Brazil's finest percussion soundscape players, Uirá Cairo for his single, “Flamenco Sketches”, that was recorded and produced from home during lockdown.

During the exclusive interview, Shivank shared his story of becoming a Classical Pianist at such a young age, inspirations and motivation and his latest single “Flamenco Sketches”.

Check the interview below:

Tell us your story. How did you become a Classical Pianist at such a young age?

I started playing the piano about 5 years ago. My parents insisted that I learn to play an instrument. Before that point, I made attempts to learn to play the guitar, drums and trumpet, but my enthusiasm and interest in them soon fizzled out. Since there was already a piano at home, the natural choice was to play the piano. As a result, I started weekly lessons. Some months after I began to take piano lessons, by sheer luck, I stumbled upon recordings of classical music online. Immediately, this music captivated me and almost immediately decided that I wanted to be able to play this music myself. At this point, a certain passion and determination entered me. As such, I continued to play the piano.

After a year or so, my teacher told me that he had taught enough. So, for a long period of time, I did not have any lessons. Naturally, I was forced to figure things out myself but the lack of a person to provide me with constructive criticism made me somewhat conceited and oblivious to the flaws I may have had. On one occasion, my family and I went to the UK on holiday. Since I had not had lessons for a while, it seemed like a good idea to take some lessons there, while on holiday. As a result, I had some classes at the London Contemporary School of Piano. This was significant because I understood my limitations musically. Before this point, I felt like I was an excellent pianist without many flaws. But here, I quickly realized that there was a lot more work to do. After returning home, I continued to take lessons with them, and still do.

Where do you find the inspiration and motivation for your music?

Inspiration is a deeply enigmatic entity. The first spark to create music is almost always tremendously elusive. However, it is still clear that an inspiration is the music of others, especially the music of those who I admire. These include the works of great composers such as Chopin, Ravel, Beethoven, Scriabin, amongst many others, the performances of fantastic pianists such as Daniil Trifonov, Keith Jarrett, Artur Rubinstein, Alfred Cortot, just to name a few. Moreover, there is naturally an innate desire in me to express or say something through music. This may sometimes be connected to moments of life, but it is not necessarily so.

You have released 2 songs of your own and they have received quite a view too, how do you feel?

I feel humbled by it. Of course, I am grateful for the response that I have received. At the same time, I make sure not to be overly proud and try to improve myself further.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

It is difficult to predict the future, but broadly speaking, I will likely be in college, in 5 years.

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