Mekhla Kumar,

Pi­anist

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP FRONT - Words katie spain pic­ture stock­holm pure

WHO Mekhla Kumar is a nim­blefin­gered 25-year-old who re­cently re­turned to Ade­laide after three years study­ing mu­sic at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Ger­many. THE BEAT Kumar has fond child­hood mem­o­ries of a mu­sic-filled house­hold in St Peters. “My mother stud­ied clas­si­cal pi­ano when she was younger and was the one who first in­tro­duced me to clas­si­cal mu­sic. My fa­ther also has a deep love of mu­sic and to this day plays In­dian clas­si­cal mu­sic ev­ery morn­ing as soon as he wakes up.” TINY TAL­ENT Kumar was just four when she first put fin­gers to keys in a class en­vi­ron­ment. “My first teacher, An­drea Field, was cru­cial in de­vel­op­ing my love for mu­sic. Ev­ery sin­gle les­son was so much fun and I was al­lowed to bring my favourite toy with me.“ ROLE MODEL Another ma­jor in­flu­ence was Pro­fes­sor Ste­fan Am­mer, who taught Kumar dur­ing high school and univer­sity at the Elder Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic. “If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have gone and stud­ied in Ger­many.” FIRST FLIGHT Deutsch­land was a big deal for Kumar. “So many clas­si­cal com­posers were born or lived in Ger­many so there was a lot to see. Go­ing to Beethoven’s house in Bonn was def­i­nitely a high­light for me. Also stand­ing in the Thomaskirc­he (St Thomas Church) in Leipzig, where Bach worked for many years was some­thing I will never for­get.” CUL­TURE SHOCK “After study­ing in Ger­many I re­alised how lucky I was to have done my de­gree in Ade­laide. I took for granted the fa­cil­i­ties that the Con pro­vided me. The staff at the Elder Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic also cre­ated a car­ing and pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment. In Ger­many, where I stud­ied at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, I had to be much more self-suf­fi­cient as there were just so many more stu­dents it wasn’t pos­si­ble for the school to keep track of ev­ery­one.” STAGE BOUND Kumar is back on home turf and per­forms Rach­mani­noff’s Pi­ano Con­certo No. 2 as a spe­cial guest with the Ade­laide Youth Orches­tra at its Maestro Se­ries 3 North­ern Lights con­cert this month. “I have a lot of re­spect for this piece. It was ex­tremely per­sonal for Rach­mani­noff and the story be­hind its cre­ation is quite mov­ing,” she says. “It’s ded­i­cated to Rach­mani­noff’s physi­cian who helped him over­come clin­i­cal de­pres­sion and writer’s block. This piece was writ­ten con­fir­ma­tion that he’d left th­ese dark years be­hind and you can feel the in­ten­sity of the jour­ney he went through in the mu­sic mak­ing it a roller-coaster ride for au­di­ences.” THE DREAM “I have a Yamaha baby grand at home, but I’m dream­ing of hav­ing a con­cert grand Stein­way one day. It is like the Roll­sRoyce of pi­anos.” Mekhla Kumar will per­form with the Ade­laide Youth Orches­tra, as part of its Maestro Se­ries 3 North­ern Lights con­cert at Elder Hall on Septem­ber 21 from 6.30pm, $25/adult, $20/ con­ces­sion, $10/child, bass.net.au

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