This article was first published in The Times Kuwait on Dec 30, 2013
What could be more calming and soothing than listening to an instrumental music; poets have coined music as the food of the soul. The valuable effects music provides channels to different benefits such as enhancing better concentration, release of tensions and more, yet more often than not, we fail to acknowledge those who compose, create and put together this music. The Times interviews a seventeen-year old talented young pianist, Charles Fernandes, whose passion to share his music not only gave him recognition but acceptance to one of the world’s top music conservatories.
What or who influenced you to play the piano at a young age?
Charles: I grew up in a family where instruments are part of our daily life — my mother and father who both play the piano. I guess, from a very young age the sound of the piano attracted me to start fiddling with the instrument. I started to play the piano at the age of six under the tutelage of my instructors and my father taught me how to play the guitar.
What grades have you accomplished in Piano and how many recitals have you done?
Charles: I took a performance exam under the Associated Boards of Royal School of Music that are categorized into eight grades, which I have already passed five years back. I acquired my diploma, which took me two years to prepare. I have performed three major recitals; In 2010 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, at The British School of Kuwait in 2011 and in June 2012, at the Radisson Blu Hotel again in front of about 500 guests.
What were the awards have you received?
Charles: I won three grand prizes of Frederick Chopin Competitions in Kuwait in 2004, 2006 and 2010, and in 2011 I was awarded the grand prize for the Chopin Gulf Competition.
When and where did you perform abroad?
Charles: My first performance abroad was four years back when I participated in the Young Musicians of the Gulf Competition in Bahrain, where I won the Best Ensemble award. I returned in 2011 and bagged the Best Pianist award under 16 years old.
What are your most memorable performances and why?
Charles: My most memorable performances were in Macedonia in 2011 where I got to perform on a Steinway piano, a dream for every pianist, and in 2010 inside Frederick Chopin’s House. The feeling was extraordinary as I got to play Chopin’s music in his house, and in 2012 at the concert in Radisson Blu Hotel.
With which symphony orchestra do you dream of performing one day?
Charles: Definitely with London and Boston Symphony Orchestras
How did these performances enhance and develop you as a person?
Charles: These performances gave me confidence in everything I do and since they required me to work hard, it taught me to work hard in all aspects.
What are you future plans?
Charles: I am off to Oberlain Conservatory of Music in Ohio, USA, where I was accepted on full scholarship. I will be taking up a four years Bachelor of Music in Piano in Performance and another two years of Masters Degree and from there let’s see where it takes me.
Your message to young artists like you who aspire to follow your path.
Charles: First I wish to thank The Times for this opportunity, and to young artists I would like to add: If you don’t like it don’t do it, because it will make you unhappy and unsatisfied with everything you do in life. A lot of people end up unhappy with their lives because even if they have accomplished so much, they failed to follow what they really aspire for. So follow your dreams and live them to the fullest.