Printed From

Finger Play

Saturday, 31 August 2013 | Pioneer

Rate : 5/5                Like : 1

Pianist Utsav Lal will hold two concerts in the city to support children of migrant labourers. He spoke to Karan Bhardwaj

He is known to be a child prodigy. Pianist Utsav Lal started performing at the age of nine. By 14, he had already entered Limca Book of Records. What sets this 21-year-old apart from his peers is his perfection in playing classical ragas, mostly considered unsuitable to be played on piano.

Presently, Lal is gearing up for his back to back concerts. “For the forthcoming performance in Delhi, I will be playing over three ragas. The first section would be a solo piano. I will also play some old filmy numbers,” says the pianist. The concerts will take place at The Oberoi Hotel and India Habitat Centre on September 1 and 6 respectively. They are supported by NGO Mobile Creches. “When I started playing classical music, I knew it be controversial. Many people had criticised my performances. But over time, I have won million hearts,” he adds.

As a kid, he was fascinated by the instrument and its size. “It was huge at the first look but I wanted to play. Initially I started with Bollywood compositions,” he tells us. He enrolled for Western classical in Delhi School of Music before moving to Ireland with parents. Though the parents came back, he shifted to Scotland to pursue Bachelors of Music Jazz from Royal Conservative. The young pianist is excited that people in India are gradually accepting piano. “The interest is growing but there is a dearth of trained teachers. Even when I was learning, I had to change many trainers since they were not skilled. Even the quality of the instrument is very bad here. There are many issues while importing a good quality instrument,” he says.

Lal practices three to four ragas everyday. “Not many people were playing ragas before me. In West, musicians like La Monte Young and Terry Riley were influenced by Indian classical music. I think Adnan Sami also used to practice it in his early days,” he shares. 

At present, he is training under Wasifuddin Dagar and Sharat Srivastava. “I keep listening to classical recordings most of the time. I think each instrument has its own strength. I develop my music from each instrument,” says the pianist who can play ragas like Yaman, Desh, Hamsadhwani, Bhopali, Kafi, Khamaj and others.