Spilling his magic

Spilling his magic
Musician Karl Lutchmayer is as diverse as the notes from his piano. A pianist, music educator and classic cars collector, Karl dons many a hat with utmost sophistication and finesse.

The director of the London-based Trinity Laban Summer Academy in India, he will soon be launching the Aruna Sunderlal Scholarship Memorial Fund (at the Bangalore School of Music) through a recital, aimed at enabling and empowering exceptionally talented youngsters who would otherwise not have access to a music education.

The seasoned musician talks to Anushree Agarwal about his interesting journey, the quality of music education in India and more.

Tell us about your journey as a musician and a music educator.

I’ve taught the piano for a long time and started when I was a student. But when I was 27, I took a fellowship at the Royal College of Music and started a second parallel career as a lecturer. Since 2002, I have been a senior lecturer at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and for the last five years, I have been spending a few months in India every year offering teacher training and some classes for students as well.
 
You have taught music in many countries. Where have you found the students to be most eager and receptive?

I can only say that students are generally eager in inverse proportion to their opportunity. The Indian students are very receptive and eager because there is such little opportunity here for high-level study at the moment.
 
So do you feel not enough is being done to impart quality music education in India?

India is the only major country that has no degree awarding music conservatoire. Clearly, the scenario is changing now — there is a large appetite for music study, and many schools are doing their best with limited resources to provide for that need. But at the moment, very few teachers are qualified to degree level. This needs to change.

According to you, what more needs to be done?

The government should change the visa rules to allow foreign teachers to come in. A conservatory needs to be started; this will be very expensive for the first five years, but will kickstart professional Western music training in India.

Your experience of performing and teaching in Bengaluru...

 I have been enjoying teaching at the Bangalore School of Music for the last three years. Also, I’ve now played many times over the last few years in Bengaluru, and it’s always been a pleasure, apart from the traffic which makes starting the concert on time such a difficulty!
 
Anything exciting in the pipeline?

My band, ‘The Connoisseur’, is about to release an EP. Starting next month, I will be travelling all over India offering summer schools in music, and bringing a number of my colleagues from the UK to teach some of them.

We hear you are fond of classic cars. Tell us about it. As a child, I possessed miniature cars. And, indeed I used to park them on the piano keyboard between the black notes! Now I’m fortunate enough to have some of the real ones. At the moment, I have a 1968 Triumph Spitfire and a 1970 Mercedes 220. The next stop will probably be a Porsche 356, and hopefully, an Aston Martin DB6 sometime later.

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