INTERVIEW Pianist and composer Mike del Ferro lost his heart to jazz when he was a teenager. He says it was the freedom that captivated him
The music has always played in the background – when he was growing up in Amsterdam influenced by the opera music his father sang and the notes of the classical piano when he was nine but it was jazz that change his life.
“When I was 17 I was interested in jazz and world music, I loved the rhythm but it was the freedom that it allowed that attracted me to it. It changed my world and music forever,” says Mike del Ferro who was in the city for a performance. It is his interest in other musical cultures and his curiosity to explore that drives him from shore to shore. “It has become my mission to share music with the world, I have found that it can be a unique and enriching experience.”
His growth from pianist to composer and arranger he says was not a conscious decision but a series of fortunate events, “It all goes hand in hand – they are all connected.”
Jazz stole his heart but he has not forsaken the rigours of classical music, “I rely on my classical background and benefit from it especially from a technical point of view. It makes the music sound more beautiful,” he smiles and when we talk about purists, he does not break any sweat, “They will always be around. But as long as it is done tastefully and with integrity – everything needs to be done with integrity. I focus on the people who appreciate my music.” Mike enjoys playing live, he loves to connect with his audience, bask in their appreciation. “In the studio I get lonely. I love people and communicating to them with my music.”
And while he is a fine musician, Mike has a keen sense of the music business without selling his soul. “A big problem is how to get gigs, mostly because it is disorganised. Get organised!” he stresses, “Build a database and follow up with people.”
“A lot of musicians only want to focus on the music but they need to understand that they are a small enterprise and they have to be business minded if they want the world to hear their music,” says Mike who engages with the international music community that he has built. From India Mike travels to Zimbabwe and South Africa, home for a week and then Latin America, “Yes, it is great and I am grateful.”
CATHERINE RHEA ROY