“I think one of the great things about being a musician is that you never stop learning.”
Yo-Yo Ma

In the beginning there was John Williams

The first “classic” piece I can remember was actually from the famous film E.T. – The extraterrestrial from 1982. I can’t say exactly how old I was, maybe 6 or 7 when I heard the music from the end credits of the film. The title of this score, I found out years later, is “Over the Moon”. The piano part at the beginning of the piece still gives goose bumps today – and I think not only for myself – and still arouses astonishment at the beauty and power of this wonderful composition. Well, the music of Sir John Williams was my first contact with music and so shortly afterwards I began to walk my way through the world of music with very small steps.

After a few years, music had become a kind of refuge for me, a little atmosphere of its own far away from everyday life, school, studies and everything that you call “useful” and “important”. I discovered more and more pearls of music and was fascinated by how seemingly quite naturally and without great effort the well-known masters such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and Wagner composed hours of music. Sometimes it seemed to me that everything that could be said had already been said. On the other hand, you could have said that after Bach, right? There is still so much to say and even if you retell a story, you still have your very own style and your very own idea of ​​it.

A quote that I picked up somewhere says: “The piano is the easiest instrument to start with, but the hardest if you want to master it completely.” Anyone who is desperate about sonatas, ballads, fugues and rhapsodies can only do that understand well. After a lot of trial and error, tense shoulders and countless cups of hot beverages, the notes slowly seemed to make sense. The connection between eyes, hands and keys was established, but it could take a long time.

After a while I realized that no matter how beautiful the pieces I had to practice for the next week, I liked to improvise and make up my own stories. That usually led to very “nice” mistakes in piano lessons, which I was forgiven for with a lot of smiles. The ideas became more precise, the improvisations got more structure … and so at the age of 16 I tried to put my first compositions for piano on paper and some time later my first volume was actually finished – better known today as About Opus One.

Big steps with small scores

At the end of 2006 I founded my YouTube Channel … and YouTube was still in its infancy back then, which wasn’t exactly a disadvantage for young artists, on the contrary. Far away from algorithms, search engines and data cracks, I found a lot of friends and encouragement. A small community of music lovers, composers, some with an academic background, some out of a love of music … that was my first fan base. After my first pieces for piano – still very much based on 1830 – I tried to find my own style and to go less into the structure and more into my own sound concept.

In my small town I was able to organize small concerts with friends for a long time. Here I often accompanied Schubert, Schumann Brahms, but also played – and always preferred – my own pieces. The best part was always partying with my new music friends after the concert.

After 10 more pieces for piano, my second volume was as good as finished. As good as, because I wanted to go beyond the 88 keys. First I tried a transcription in which I rewrote one of my piano pieces for orchestra. There were the tense shoulders again and the countless cups of hot drinks. But two pieces for symphony orchestra later my musical journey, Kayo’s Journey, was over. But my biggest journey so far was still ahead of me.

6000 miles from home

After about 11 hours of flight and 5 films later, the doors of the aircraft opened and 35 C ° hot air came towards me. A conductor from Vietnam noticed me through my YouTube channel and some good friends who interpret my pieces and also published them on their channels. After a few conversations, scores and audio samples, the decision was made … my path leads me to Vietnam.

The first experience with orchestral rehearsals. Working on your own score with other musicians for the first time. The very first television appearance. It was a huge mess. We all quickly agreed that all proceeds from the concert should go to a hospital for donations. Now we had to fill the hall so that our art and our good intentions could bear fruit. I think I can say that I have never had such a happy, funny and ambitious team of young, but also very experienced musicians by my side. The conductor, Do Kien Cuong, had completed his studies in the States and so we had quickly discussed our plans and taken the necessary steps. But the language was not a barrier that could not be overcome. I played my ideas on the piano and with a lot of humor, jokes and lots of fits of laughter we grew together as a small group. The rehearsals were an experience that I will never forget.

Then came the evening. Everyone was nicely dressed and sat down quietly and expectantly. The television crew let the cameras roam. If I hadn’t been told that the cameras were only for internal recording for college students, I would probably have exploded with excitement. At the point: Thanks for the little white lie! The program was structured as follows: 5 pieces for piano, then one piece for the orchestra and a break. Then another 5 pieces and, finally, another work for orchestra. You could see the excitement, but I went on stage. The lights went out and I play. 5 tracks later, it was a huge stone from my heart and to applause I went backstage. Accompanied by pats on the back and congratulations, we celebrated the small partial victory while the stage was being prepared for the orchestra. The musicians took their seats and the lights dimmed again. Now I was there myself at the world premiere of my own compositions. You can’t describe happiness … and I won’t try that here either.

Friendship & Music

Music overcomes borders; geographical as well as cultural. During my trip it was nice to sit back at my piano and spend my time with tea and new melodies. The joy of my great trip lasted for a long time and so I thought it would be wise to use this vigor for new projects. In the course of my discoveries, I was able to make new friends. On the one hand, I met the great pianist Keiko Nishizu from Japan, who gave great concerts with other friends. Keiko Nishizu was also the first pianist to record my pieces and publish them on YouTube. Also a big thank you to the pianist Julia Haak from Germany, who reminded me of some of my pieces that I had almost forgotten.

A great friendship and great concert memories go to the pianist Ioana Maria Lupascu from Romania, who not only supported me on stage, but also interpreted my pieces at other concerts – including some of my pieces for piano and orchestra. Also a big thank you to the brilliant cellist Mirel Iancovici and his wonderful interpretation of my composition Photographs.

However, I have one of the most creative friendships with the flautist Lynsey Blair from England. After an interpretation of one of my pieces and other arrangements, we formed our Duet Flutiano and recorded many pieces and soundtracks together. From pop songs to Schubert and Chopin and some concerts in England and Germany, we have put together a great playlist on YouTube.

I hope for more projects and friendships and I am curious which melodies I will come up with next … and where they will lead me to.