Hungarian pianist mulls Indian, Western classical fusion

On a recent trip to India, where he has performed thrice earlier, Hungarian pianist Balazs Fulei mulled composing a mix of Western and classical Indian music.

String and wind instruments used in Indian classical music are likely to go well with the western classical music, says the musician who began playing the piano at the age
of eight.

“The problem I think is in the tuning because Indian instruments are tuned using a different system. So putting them on one stage, is a question for me, but I always think about that,” he says.

The pianist was in the city for a concert held recently at the Piano Club of The Imperial hotel in association with the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre.

Currently an assistant professor at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Fulei began his journey as a pianist when the instrument was introduced to him merely as a toy. By the time he was 13-years-old and started his music education, he was sure he “wanted to do this,” reports PTI.

“The musician says the interest for piano in the West is nowhere near decreasing. Almost every second or third child in Europe studies the piano,” says Fulei, who began playing the piano at the age of eight and has performed at important stages across the world, including in India, US, Japan, China, Israel and Australia. Colloquially abbreviated as the piano, the pianoforte is a keyboard-based musical instrument, often employed in western classical and jazz music.

“The piano is the main instrument of the western classical music. It has come a very long way before the modern piano came into existence. The harpsichord and clavichord were the instruments that existed before the piano,” says Fulei, who has been playing the instrument for 22 years now.

Fulei’s repertoire at the concert included Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Italian Concerto,’ Franz Liszt’s ‘Two concert etudes,’ Franz Schubert’s ‘Impromptu’ and Zoltan Kodaly's ‘Dances of Marosszek’. “The piano is the only instrument where you can illustrate and make an illusion of any other instrument like orchestra pieces, flute or violin,” he says.
According to changes in the audience’s musical tastes, piano seems to have stood the test of time.

“Fortunately, the instrument itself hasn't changed for at least 130 years. So, I can say that today's piano is almost similar to the one that was there when Franz Liszt lived,” says the pianist.

Franz Listz, a 19th-century Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist desired to make certain improvements in the instrument, which manifested nominally in technical forms. “It became stronger and a bit bigger but the instrument itself did not change. That’s why, the music that is written for the piano too hasn’t changed much,” says Fulei.

“Of course there are new ideas in contemporary music on how to play on the strings or how to hit the piano so as not to play on the keyboard, but there haven’t been any sudden changes in the style,” he says.

For him, his relationship with the piano, is “a life long project" and feels that a life is not enough to play the instrument.

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