Young violinist Aneesh Vidyashankar’s tryst with music started at quite an early age. “My dad was quite the violinist himself and my parents would tell me that every time he took it out to play, even when I could barely speak I would hold on to it and simply, playfully repeat, ‘happy’ over and over again,” he recalls.
Aneesh, 23, remembers always being encouraged by everyone around him. “There was never a moment that I can remember when my parents or teachers didn’t stand by me and help me achieve my musical goals,” he says, sharing a word of advice for beginners. “The important thing to master is multi-tasking. Especially for the younger lot who have to balance school and music. I would squeeze every extra minute I had to hone my musical skills, because that’s how simple it is. Every minute counts.”
Today having performed at innumerable concerts and in over 20 countries, his unusual style of music is a pleasantly refreshing blend of Indian and Western sensibilities. “Right from Beethoven to the most recent Bollywood flick Piku, I enjoy doing my rendition of any kind of music,” says the Bengaluru-based artiste. Aneesh would be performing at a concert in the UK this September. However, the details of the event are still under wraps.
Aneesh started performing at school concerts when he was five-and-a-half years old and at what he calls “hardcore” recitals, where he was part of the main orchestra. “I studied in Valley School, where we were given the freedom to pursue our interests. It is an informal set up where we called our teachers uncles and aunties. With their support and my dedication, I won a number of awards and competitions at that stage itself,” he says.
School was followed by two years at Christ Pre-University College. “I played for a lot of bands, won many awards and got recognised for my talents,” Aneesh says. Having completed his degree from R V College, he immediately busied himself with his music. Today, Aneesh has performed for various dignitaries and celebrities from politicians such as HD Deve Gowda to Irfan Razak, head Prestige Group. “I was also invited to perform at the soft launch of Kingfisher Towers, the exclusive luxury apartments coming up on Vittal Mallya Road,” shares the violinist, who can also walk while playing the instrument.
While his music is rooted in tradition, the modern edge lends it a versatility that makes it appealing to all ages. “I can safely say that my music is equally enjoyed by the young and the old,” says Aneesh, who also performed for the 103-year-old environmentalist, Saalumarada Thimakka. Aneesh was also invited to do a session on enhancing emotions through music as part of TEDx Talks.
His most memorable performance, however, has been at Canada’s Lake Lewis, which was also attended by his parents. “I just met a guitar player in the park and we clicked immediately and then we started jamming. It was beautiful with the snow-capped mountains in the background,” Aneesh reminisces. And his performance for a small gathering in Monaco comes a close second and is followed by a performance in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. “I also had a plan to make music at the Eiffel Tower. But when I got there it was late and the lights were off,” he shares.
“I hope to keep improving myself and the audience’s experience with each show that I do,” he says. Aneesh also plans to build a feature where guests can request songs through WhatsApp from a pre-fixed playlist. “People are always on their phones, why not work that to my advantage?” he beams.