“My piano doesn’t have a French accent”

Canadian pianist Richard Abel speaks about his love for the piano,and why he lives each day as if it were his last.

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published:May 4, 2012 2:15 am

Canadian pianist Richard Abel speaks about his love for the piano,and why he lives each day as if it were his last.

While performing at a packed venue,pianist Richard Abel’s body language is in complete contrast from when he is in rehearsals. Calmness personified,he is always willing to interact with audiences during his shows. At the same time,he keeps furtively instructing the sound engineers. “I am a bit of a perfectionist,” he admits sheepishly. He recently played the piano in the city. He is not a stranger to India,but his first performance in Pune left him surprised. “The audience was very pleasant. I kept joking with them that English,unlike for them,is not a first language for me. Fortunately,they put up with my French accent and let me perform freely.”

An “old school musician at heart”,Abel says his piano does not share his French accent. “I always say that instrumental music doesn’t have any language barriers. So anyone can enjoy the concert. To communicate with people has been always easy for me. When you like people,I do believe it’s easier,” he says.

Abel performed pieces called Chariots of Fire,Memory (Cats) Music Box Dancer ,Tango To Evora ,Abrazame Concerto Tchaikovsky ,Con Te Partiro and Funiculi Funicula,amongst others. Besides Pune,he has performed in Bengaluru and Goa,and completed his Indian tour with his last concert in Mumbai on May 2.

His love for the piano began when,as a small child,he heard his mother play it. “I began playing by the ear,and at the age of 14,began to learn it professionally,'”he says adding that there is something liberating about the music as way to express yourself.” A methodical performer by nature,the discipline associated with his onstage acts now extends to his personal life. “I don’t take anything for granted. I try to live each day of my life like it were the last one,because we never know what the future holds,” he says.

For Abel,playing the piano is healing people through music. “A lot of people tell me that I helped them to quit taking pills for anxiety and heal them because my music relaxes them. Others say music fills their isolation,” he says adding that he would love to come back to Pune.

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