“A huge part of being a pianist is being able to make the instrument bend the laws of physics in a way and create illusions of other instruments, other textures. The Steinway Piano is so incredibly responsive that it feels like when you play one, you are getting a thousand instruments for the price of one. The quality of the sustain and resonance, the sheer scale of tonal nuance and the unparalleled crispness of the action all combine together to create the perfect instrument that can do anything, everything and more than what I could envision of any piano. A Steinway is `regal grandeur' and creates a huge sense of occasion every time you play one.”
Creative Indian pianist/ composer and Young Steinway Artist, Utsav Lal is recognized as a musician extraordinaire who has set a precedent in the world of music. Choosing to perform on an instrument that has traditionally been considered unsuitable for Hindustani Classical Music, Utsav’s innovative handling of ragas on the piano blends his diverse musical influences and has left listeners spellbound. Known as the ‘Raga Pianist’, Lal’s soulful renditions in traditional Alap Jod Jhalla have won him fans all over the world and invitations to perform at international festivals and global platforms that include Carnegie Hall-NY, Southbank Centre-London, The Kennedy Center- DC, The National Concert Hall-Dublin, Konset Huset-Sweden, Asia Society- Hong Kong, Theatre Orangerie-The Netherlands, India Habitat Centre-New Delhi, Arts Centre- Melbourne, NCPA-Mumbai.
Deriving fresh inspiration from an ancient tradition, Utsav Lal has developed his own unique voice for the piano. Completely improvised, slowly expanding from a single note outwards to complex waves of rhythms and virtuosic passages, Novara Jazz festival Director Corrado Beldi describes Lal’s playing as having “illuminating grace”. Lal’s music is deeply influenced by Indian Classical Music and blends in his experiences in jazz, blues, western classical, folk, Irish music and free improvisation. Drawing additional strength from myriad jazz and post-modern concepts, the music is captivating with great range and variety in tempo, dynamics and emotion and recognized for its sincerity, simplicity and depth.
Lal’s work reflects strong influences from a vast array of sources such as the Persian piano tradition, the work of Australian minimalist piano trio – The Necks and musicians who have sought to expand the expressive capabilities of the piano like Ran Blake, Anthony Coleman, Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou Cecil Taylor and Helmut Lachenmann.
Recognized for his musical achievements from an early age, Utsav was featured in the Indian Limca Book of Records(2007), awarded Ireland’s Metro Eireann Media & Multicultural Award(2008) for championing multiculturalism through music and chosen as three top Asian music child prodigies to perform at the Asia on The Edge festival (2008) in Singapore. His extensive work lays the foundation for a strong legacy that establishes the piano in a new role and he was recognized as a Young Steinway Artist (2010).
A youth icon, Utsav was awarded the Tie Aspire Young Indian Achiever award (2012) and holds the distinction of being the first to introduce the piano at the 137th Harivallabh Sammelan, India’s oldest classical music festival in 2012 broadcast live on National Television.
From his debut album Piano Moods of Indian Ragas (Times Music -2008), Lal has had an impressive career, with five subsequent albums released. Lal features in several international collaborations including Australian contemporary circus group CIRCA, Irish duo Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Ustad Hidayat Hussain Khan, Brian Molley Jazz Quartet, Winifred Horan, Jarlath Henderson and others.