Described by AR Rahman as one of India’s treasures, at 12, Lydian Nadhaswaram has already hit all the right notes.
In a world full of accomplished musicians and veteran pianists, one young boy from Chennai stands tall. It became obvious very early on that Lydian Nadhaswaram was destined for great things.
The 12-year-old boy can effortlessly tap away at the piano at mind-boggling speed, and at the same time deliver soulful pieces as his fingers gently pitter-patter across his prized Steinway, a gift from across the world. And recently, the child prodigy took to the world stage and stunned the judges on CBS show The World’s Best. From Golden Globe Award winner Drew Barrymore, to Emmy Award winner RuPaul Charles, and Grammy Award winner Faith Hill, everyone was left amazed at Lydian’s talent, reports India West.
The unmissable beat
Lydian’s inclination towards music became clear when he took to drums at two. He then started accompanying his father, Varshan Satish, a music director in the Tamil film Industry, entertaining at public and private events along with his elder sister, Amirthavarshini, who played the piano. Lydian was fascinated.
At the age of eight, he closely watched his sister at it, and began to play by ear, with no formal training initially. Watching a YouTube video of Hong Kong piano prodigy Tsung Tsung egged him on.
Speaking to The Hindu Business Line, Lydian said it was his dad and elder sister who were his first piano teachers.
He soon conquered Rimsky-Korsakoff’s The Flight of the Bumble Bee by watching a YouTube video, and took it a notch further by playing it at a speed of 190 beats per minute!
He further went on to learn how to play slow, melodic pieces like Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu with beauty and grace. To ace the skills of a pianist, Lydian became a student of Augustine Paul, a veteran music educator and music director of the 125-year-old Madras Musical Association. With his guidance, Lydian breezed through the Grade VIII piano examination conducted by Trinity College, London, an accomplishment typical of people of college-age, or older.
Noting his remarkable abilities, perfect pitch and musical memory, he was invited to Mumbai for a TED show in India where he chose music to express his thoughts.
Since then, he has played in several international events, including NBC’s Spanish-language TV show Siempre Niños in Miami in February 2017.
In 2016, Lydian met the Novogratz family, a prominent name in New York, known for their patronage of the art scene in the city. Impressed by the boy’s talent, they shipped a gleaming Steinway, coveted by the young pianist, all the way to Chennai. Oscar winner A R Rahman has described Lydian as one of India’s treasures.
Lydian now has a seat at the table of Chennai greats who hold Trinity certificates or diplomas: Ilaiyaraja, A R Rahman, L Subramaniam, and L Shankar. Not too shabby for a 12 year-old.
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