For as long as I remember, I’ve always wanted to become a musician. Among all my interests, Music is the one that taught me the most and changed me the most as a person, and it seemed only logical that embracing a career in Music would be the most fulfilling option for me.
I was fortunate enough to live through a few exceptional experiences that only confirmed what was evident from the beginning; that I should become a musician. The first one of such memories occurred when I was 12 years old. I heard an advert on the radio telling about a concert in which Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock would play alongside 50 selected young pianists. I was determined to try my best to be one of them because I knew this would be a one-off opportunity for me to meet musicians of such caliber. I sent my video tape, and a few weeks later, I received the answer: I was selected. I remember my twelve-year-old self jumping up and down and running around the house in joy.
The experience itself was not short of my expectations. Not only could I benefit from the guidance and advice of two of my musical idols, but I could also meet 49 other pianists my age, from all over the world, who all shared the same passion for music. To this day, I am still friends with some of the young people I have met there; which just shows how incredibly well musicians can bond when they play together, even over a very short period of time. We performed in a televised concert in the 02 Arena in Berlin: 25 pianos on the stage, 10 000 people in the audience. It was a truly exhilarating performance.
That led me onto discovering another reason why I love music so much, namely that it is all about sharing.
When I went back home, I only had one thing in mind: finding another similar environment where I could be around people from all sorts of backgrounds and country of origin who are as passionate as I am about music. This is what led me to participate to the Bowdoin International Music Festival near Boston and the Summit Music Festival near New York City. In both those places I built again very strong friendships, and finishing the courses by playing chamber music together was an incredible experience that linked us even more together.
But still, after these experiences, I was craving that sort of environment. These people had become my musical family, and when, at age 14, I heard of the Yehudi Menuhin School in London, and heard people describe exactly like that: „A musical family“, I knew this was the place for me. It is a fantastic community of 80 pupils of different ages ranging from 8 to 19 from at least 30 different countries. When I was accepted there, aged 16, I blossomed as a person and as a musician and I spent the 3 most incredible years of my life, living and breathing music every day.
What struck me over the last few years, is that even though I was meeting with some of the world’s most talented artists, sometimes very famous, each time I was incredibly touched to see how generous those people could be. Before, I thought that people such as Sergei Babayan, Daniil Trifonov, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Herbie Hancock, Martha Argerich, Igudesman and Joo belonged to another planet that was somehow inaccessible to me, and that they would not have any time to spare to young musicians like me, but each time I met such great musicians, I was absolutely touched by their generosity and humanity. They all seemed to understand me and the doubts I could have, and genuinely cared to help me. That musicians of such influence have this humility inspired me to help people as much as I can with my music, whether it is by organising charity concerts (such as Piano4Uganda, Kids for Soweto) or by generally being supportive and helpful to my peers and younger musicians.
The artist who has inspired me most is Hyung-Ki Joo. I was lucky to have met him backstage after one of his concerts and I was able to play to him later, and since, we have remained in very close contact. I consider him a mentor and a role model and can give credit to him for many of the best decisions I have made on my musical journey.
I feel so lucky to have had such incredible experiences that have formed my life and cannot wait to discover my journey of being a musician even further.