Key Legacy

Michiel Borstlap

Dutch jazz pianist Michiel Borstlap returns to Delhi after more than a decade for a performance today

When you listen to Michiel Borstlap's family history, it comes as no surprise that the Dutchman decided to become a pianist before the age of 10. Indeed, with a composer father, a classically trained pianist mother and a sister who is a concert violinist, young Borstlap couldn't have avoided the stage. "Though my ancestry has several music fanatics, it was my parents who were the first people to enter the field of music professionally," says Borstlap, who will perform in Delhi today.

A globally celebrated artiste, Borstlap, in his forties, trained at the prestigious Hilversum Conservatory for five strenuous years before embarking on his career as a classical and jazz pianist and composer. While he is proficient in both, he says picking a favourite between the two is a tough call. "Every pianist should have a good knowledge of classical music as that is the foundation of so many pieces of music as well as instruments, the piano being prominent among them. Jazz, which developed in the beginning of the 20th century, derives a lot of elements from classical music, while utilising a lot more improvisation leading to a free-flowing sound. When I write my music, I like it to be a medley of both jazz and classical. So, it is highly technical but there is plenty of room left to have fun," he says.

He will play pieces from his latest album, Blue, which carries this element of intensity and fun forward as the song names, Summer Child, Closer to you, Five notes one love and Lullaby indicate. Blue is inspired by the events surrounding the birth of Borstlap's daughter and is more mature. "It was a very intense period for us, the time before and after our daughter was born. I wanted to compose music for her that she could listen to whether she was two or 20. I think the effect of fatherhood had a definite sobering effect on my composition style," he says.

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