Graduate of the Month: Utsav Lal
March’s Graduate of the Month is Utsav Lal, a jazz pianist who graduated from RCS in 2014. Utsav has already made an impact on the music world, often referred to as the ”˜Raga Pianist’, he has performed across the world in classical concert venues including the Southbank Centre (London), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), The Kennedy Centre (Washington DC), NCPA (Mumbai) and Tagore Centre (Berlin).
This monthUtsav will be releasing his latest music project The Fluid Piano the first raga piano album to be recorded. Utsav is excited for this next step in his career:
“My musical journey of the past 13 years has focused on learning and performing jazz and Indian classical music on the piano, and I found I was particularly inspired by the Fluid Piano. This is a one of a kind acoustic piano designed by UK-based composer and inventor, Geoff Smith featuring Fluid Tuning Mechanisms on each note which allows the pianist to access different intonation systems with ease and also bend/slide between notes.
I’ve been exploring and researching this instrument since2010, which has resulted in a unique collaborative project called The Fluid Piano and Utsav Lal to record the Fluid Piano’s debut album in July 2015.The project started just after I completed my BMus (Jazz) at RCS has been funded by the Arts Council England, Indiegogo crowd fundingwith a short documentary filmed by Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust, UK.
After extensive research work and experimentation, I recorded the world’s first ragas album on the Fluid Piano. The Fluid Piano is a completely acoustic grand piano which allows a musician to alter the individual frequencies of each note through a slider that varies the string tension.This makes the microtones much more accessible and the note can be bent and altered once played. It’s the first time in the history of the piano that someone has built a version that can achieve this which instantly makes the instrument a lot more accessible to world music traditions that are not focused on equal tempered tunings. It gave me a chance to explore the facets of Indian music that were previously difficult to express and explore on the piano and is the world’s first album of Hindustani Classical raga on a piano featuring the correct shruti intonations. When playing this instrument, meends, pure shruti intonations and andolan were available to me and allowed me a huge opportunity to explore vast soundscapes.”
Read more about Utsav’s work please visit utsavlal.com