Karl Lutchmayer is one of the celebrated pianists as well as an instructor, who has worldwide recognition. His roots in India has brought him back to the country a few years ago where he has been touring widely; taking master classes as well as performing for concerts with various other renowned artists. He has recently conducted a master class in Hyderabad and also performed along with the violinist Andrew Sherwood. Here is an interesting conversation with the talented musician.
Navya Chittarvu: Hello Karl! Please tell us about your background and how you landed into music?
Karl Lutchmayer: My parents belong to the UK and when I was born during the 60s. I literally grew up with classical music in my household. We had a piano in the house and obviously I was drawn towards the instrument. My mother was a piano player.
NC: How about your bonding with India?
KL: I used to often visit India to meet my grandparents and I have strong bonding towards the exotic nature of the country. After becoming a professional pianist, I have been playing for All India Radio and Bombay Chamber Orchestra. Since six years, I have relocated to India and made Mumbai my home. It is incredible to be in India at such an optimistic time for the music scene.
NC: Which is dearer to you- teaching or performing?
KL: I feel both are important to me. As a performer, I seldom have the chance to personally interact with the audience and cannot carry much emotional memories in that regard. But as an instructor, I get the rare privilege to interact with the aspiring musicians and the younger lot and have a lot of lovely memories being so.
NC: Your musical influences?
KL: I find Alfred Brendel’s works quite engaging and have a personal admiration for Tabla legend Zakir Hussain as well. I heard his works extensively during the 70s and 80s era and even now I never miss an opportunity to meet him.
NC: How is the scene for Western classical music in the current era in India?
KL: I must say that the uptake of Western classical music in India has exponentially increased in urban areas compared to two decades ago. This is indeed a great change and I see lots of opportunities for aspiring musicians in India.
NC: Do you think that the young musicians can make it big in Western classical music here?
KL: Definitely. I see a potential of becoming professional musicians; in many of the young students, with whom I interacted. In fact, I say to many of the youngsters in the West, to arrive in India as it is the land of opportunities. There is a greater ratio of demand and supply which makes it an ideal place for classical music.
NC: Your advice to budding musicians ?
KL: I have three important rules for musicians to follow to become a great classical performer: Hard work is mandatory for any artist and it needs to be done with the guidance of a good teacher. It is difficult to find a qualified and talented teacher these days and if that is achieved, the job is half done. The third advice is to listen to as much as brilliant classical music as possible. In the world of Internet, there are ample opportunities to listen to great classical music!
NC: There is an increased demand for keyboard learning instead of piano these days. Which one is the better option according to you?
KL: Well, a piano and a keyboard would look similar on appearance but there are lot of differences between them. A piano is 400 year old instrument which has more scope and grandeur for an artist to excel in. Keyboard on the other hand is a modern instrument which has its own limitations. So, if you ask me as to which instrument a classical musician should prefer to learn- I’d undoubtedly say piano!