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Updated: October 12, 2010 15:23 IST

The pianist

Prabalika M. Borah
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Richard Clayderman. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu
The Hindu Richard Clayderman. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

Legendary pianist Richard Clayderman on his likes, music and tours

Call him the Prince of Romance or Phiphi, for world acclaimed pianist Richard Clayderman it's the love of the people for his music that matters most.

Soothing music

But going back to his title, Prince of Romance, he says music is the representation of his self. “I am a calm person and through my music I attempt to soothe the minds of my audience.”

On his first-ever performance with santoor player Rahul Sharma, Richard was floored seeing the 3000-odd audience at an auditorium in Mumbai. “After Mumbai this is the second Indian city I am visiting and I seriously hoped there was a sea here,” says Richard, who loves to jog by the sea as a fitness regimen.

Richard who is concentrating more on music tours these days says, “It is most important to keep fit. And when we are touring different countries it's the fitness of the mind that allows me to play with ease.” Richard was in town for a concert called Milan hosted by Tata Teleservices.

Richard's first lessons on the piano happened when he was barely six.

“It was my father who introduced me to the piano and since then I have made the piano my life, I learnt classical music till about 15-16 years,” recollects Richard. And he quickly adds, “I became a grandfather when I was 39.”

Richard says he was lucky that when he started playing as there was no contemporary pianist. “But like French men I married early and had to stick to the piano to earn a living and support my family. Now we have loads of amazing pianists across the world,” says Richard honestly.

Richard who plays a lot of the ABBA songs, besides his own extempore compositions, says, “It is a challenge for me to transform the ABBA lyrics into melodies. I enjoy taking up such challenges and the audience loves it.”

A serious shopper Richard heard of a flea market in the city and was hoping to visit the place.

“I love shopping and my wife loves this trait of mine. Shopping relaxes me,” admits Richard who is a disciplined well-organised man. Richard is also the first living pianist to have a stamp to his credit. China unveiled a stamp a few months back to mark his 200th performance in the country. “It is an honour and I sent a couple to my mother who is delighted about it,” he says.

Besides his music, family and dog, Richard seems to have a weakness for desserts, “no matter what I do, I cannot stay away from the desserts section in a menu,” he laughs.

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