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      Abhik Mazumder -   Upper Arlington OH  -

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Six-year old pianist Abhik Mazumder, who will perform today in a recital hall at the famed New York venue.
Kyle Robertson | Dispatch
Six-year old pianist Abhik Mazumder, who will perform today in a recital hall at the famed New York venue.

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He likes sushi, formalwear and Chopin. He's cool under pressure. And, today, he is playing Carnegie Hall.

"The only thing that limits Abhik is the size of his hands," his piano teacher said.

Well, that's to be expected: He's still in kindergarten.

In regard to music, Abhik Mazumder, 6, of Upper Arlington seems to personify the word precocious. By virtue of being a winner in a national piano competition, he gets to perform today at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Granted, it's in a recital hall -- not the auditorium where Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein played. But give him time.

"He's what you'd call a prodigy," said his teacher, Don Clark of Plain City.

Clark, who has taught for about 35 years, referred to Abhik as the most advanced student of his age he has ever had.

In person, Abhik is a blend of little boy and musician. Before tackling the four-minute Waltz in C-sharp Minor by Chopin (his favorite composer), he takes a deep breath and holds his hands poised above the keys.

And when it's finished, he does dinosaur impressions.

Asked whether his friends at Tremont Elementary School know about his piano-playing prowess, he replied, "Yes, but they don't understand."

Abhik is the son of Sandip Mazumder and his wife, Srirupa. Natives of India, they arrived in the United States in the early 1990s and have lived in Upper Arlington for four years. Mr. Mazumder is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio State University. Mrs. Mazumder stays home to take care of Abhik.

"He's very energetic," she said.

He began pouring that energy into music before he could talk, she said. He would sing along with melodies, using whatever baby syllables he had at his command.

By 3, he had picked up his father's taste for the blues, listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton.

He wanted to play the guitar, like his father, but his hands were too small. So, at 4, he started piano lessons, using extenders to reach the pedals. It quickly became apparent that he had perfect pitch (he could identify notes and chords just from the sounds of them).

"Within two months of starting lessons, he had figured out all the major and minor chords and their inversions," Mr. Mazumder said.

The Carnegie Hall gig is the result of Abhik's being named one of seven winners in the elementary division of the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition ( www.bbpiano.com). The division had more than 100 entrants, who were selected by recordings they mailed to the judges, said Barry Alexander, executive director.

Abhik enjoys putting on a coat and tie for recitals and never shows signs of nervousness, Mr. Mazumder said. When the boy isn't playing piano, he likes to draw, swim and eat. (His favorite foods include sushi and Chinese dishes.)

He's also a quick study at math.

When Clark told him he might have to practice four to six hours a day to get really good, Abhik replied: "Well, you know I have to go to school, and I've got my friends, so the most I can do is two hours."

Clark envisions Abhik conducting an orchestra someday. But the boy already has his future mapped out.

"I want to be a pianist," he said, "and a firefighter."

Joe Blundo is a Dispatch columnist.

jblundo@dispatch.com

 

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