Prodigy pianist is back in town

Julian Clef, the now famous young Indian prodigy pianist who was discovered by a local couple, returns to the town later this month for a concert with soloists from Cantamus.

Julian, now in his third year at the Royal Northern College of Music, is performing in a recital with four of the principal Cantamus soloists at the Crescent Centre, Bull Farm, on Sunday (3pm).

He owes his start on the musical ladder to a group from Mansfield and nearby who have raised the funds to see him through two years’ study at the famous Chetham’s Music School in Manchester and help with his fees of £13,000 a year at the Royal Northern College.

Julian, who is already featuring in the school’s public concerts, was discovered in Trevandrum, South India, by a couple from the area who were on holiday five years ago - Dr Celestine and Linda John.

They recognised that he was a 14-year old prodigy who, unusually, loved the classical music repertoire and needed to be given the opportunity to come to England to study.

Julian had never seen a grand piano until he was asked to perform at the Palace Theatre in the Music and Drama Festival in 2006.

Since then, his progress has been rapid and he has won several top national prizes, including the concerto one organised by the college which gave him a booking with the Symphony Orchestra there recently.

He was selected to perform what his tutor describes as ‘almost impossible for a student to tackle, but Julian will do it’ - the Charles Ives 40-minute Concord Sonata. He has given recitals in Germany, Norway and India and will soon be on his way to Canada to appear in concerts.

One of the highlights for him, though, was being chosen to play at Buckingham Palace in front of Prince Edward at a special charity event. The prince remarked that he was sure he would be seeing him again soon.

Tickets for the Sunday afternoon concert can be obtained from Sheila Haslam, telephone 01623 627764, secretary of the Julian Clef Trust Fund, and the proceeds will go towards helping Julian’s further studies.

At present there are no funds set up to help overseas students like him, although he recently gave a talk at Chetham’s to help a group there to set up a fund with that possibility.