Music

Ayaan Deshpande: The Little Maestro

Ayaan Deshpande

Ayaan Deshpande is nine years old, and believe it or not, he has performed at a series of concerts in prestigious venues in Vienna. At such a young age, the child prodigy has given concerts before he is even a teenager. A skilled concert pianist and composer, the curly-haired fifth-grade student, who likes watching animal and wildlife documentaries and who celebrates his tenth birthday next month end, has drawn widespread acclaim all over the world since his first public performance in November 2021 alongside the Symphony Orchestra India (SOI).

Ayaan’s talent is baffling, and his playing on the piano is nothing short of genius, not only for his teachers and mentors, but anyone who sees him swiftly shifting a melody on the ivory keys.

On 23 September 2023, Ayaan performed at Mumbai Piano Day, where he stunned audiences by playing four piano pieces — Wheatland by Oscar Peterson, Rage Over A Lost Penny by Beethoven, Nocturne In B flat Minor by Chopin and I Got Rhythm by Gershwin, all with practised ease and confidence.

VERUS FERREIRA spoke with the little maestro soon after his performance. The only child to parents Tanmay and Ashwini, Ayaan, like any child his age, was shy and needed a bit of prodding from his parents to answer our questions.

In November 2021 you performed for the very first time at the NCPA. Tell us about your debut performance.
So when I met Mr Marat (Marat Bisengaliev, music director and co-founder of the SOI) for the first time, I played for him. After that, he suggested that I play the second movement of Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 with the orchestra at a concert on 14 November, which was in just 12 days. Actually, we had already purchased tickets for this concert, so I could not believe it! I listened to that piece for the first time while going home. I liked it very much, so I was excited to learn it. When I was rehearsing with the orchestra, it felt very special. On the concert day, I felt a little nervous, but my teacher Miss Aida Bisengalieva and Mr Marat told me to relax. It was good. When I heard the applause and looked up at the audience, I felt shy and wanted to go backstage quickly. It was a great experience.

You recently performed in Vienna in the very halls where iconic composers of Western classical music like Brahms and Mahler used to perform. How was it to play in such an iconic venue?
It was very nice, I can’t express it. Vienna is very special for Western classical music; Mozart and Beethoven used to live there. I performed at Ehrbar Hall and Mozarthaus.

Cover of the November 2023 issue of The Teenager Today featuring Indian cricketer Shubman Gill.

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Verus Ferreira is a music journalist for over three decades. He is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book and the founder of Musicunplugged.in

Verus Ferreira

Verus Ferreira is a music journalist for over three decades. He is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book and the founder of Musicunplugged.in