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Mumbai Piano Day: A festival to celebrate “the king of instruments”

The inaugural Mumbai Piano Day at the NCPA brings together 12 pianists from across the country

art and culture Updated: Sep 10, 2016 08:44 IST
Soma Das
Mumbai Piano Day
Jazz musician Louiz Banks. (Photo: Gaurav Sawn)

The inaugural Mumbai Piano Day at the NCPA brings together 12 pianists from across the country. The youngest among them is just 10, and features in a viral video where he plays Chopin

Musician Louiz Banks started learning the piano at the age of four. At 75, Banks still considers himself a student. “A lifetime is not enough to master the instrument. It is an orchestra in itself,” he says.

To celebrate the “king of instruments”, as he terms it, Banks is curating the Mumbai Piano Day at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). Twelve pianists from across the country will showcase the versatility of the instrument on two grand pianos. Compositions will range from western classical to rock.

Also read: Sax and the City: How jazz in Mumbai is on a comeback trail

The event will feature pianists such as Mumbai-based Merlin D’souza (who formed the all-girls band, Indiva) and Karim Ellaboudi, the Sudanese pianist who performs classical tunes as well as R’n’B. Ten-year-old pianist Lydian Nadhaswaram (from Chennai) and 15-year-old musician Kashyap Iyengar (from Delhi) are also part of the line-up.

While Nadhaswaram boasts of a viral video where he performs Frédéric Chopin’s composition Fantaisie-Impromptu, Iyengar is a self-taught keyboardist who is heading for a world tour with his psychedelic rock band, Transference.

You can also expect western classical compositions that feature piano four hands (two people performing together) and eight hands (four performers play together).

Also read: The Louiz Banks Matrixx Trio on the jazz legend - Ahmad Jamal

“The piano’s association with the city goes back to the early 1900s when western classical music was taught on it,” says Banks. Today, the digital keyboard (a variation of the piano) is keeping the tradition alive. “It is portable and easier to work with,” says Banks.

Mumbai Piano Day is inspired by Banks’s Mumbai Drum Day (January 21), which featured national and international drummers.

Based on the response, Mumbai Piano Day could become an annual event. “We may bring in international pianists if we get sponsors,” says Farrahnaz Irani, senior manager, programmes (international music), NCPA.

Don’t miss: Mumbai Piano Day will be held on September 10, at 7pm
At: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
Call: 6622 3737
Tickets: Rs 300 onward on bookmyshow.com/events