Eternal sceptics be damned, the fountain of youth never seems to run dry
I'm packing myself off to London (Ontario) to drop in on National Youth Orchestra boot camp and and a visit with this summer's conductor, Jonathan Darlington. It's a great moment to celebrate one of my reliable sources of inspiration: seeing young talents making music for the sheer, unbridled enjoyment of it.
A lot of our culture of consumption -- which very much includes the performing arts -- relies on the thrill of discovery, where often the performer is a brighter and shinier object than the material they are performing. But, for me, it's the sheer exuberance of young sensibilities that turns my crank.
I've spoken to so many people who work with kids, and, to a person, they say that engaging with them in creative ways is the single best way to stay young. This is the true fountain of youth -- and the well is constantly being replenished.
In that youthful vein, it's worth checking out freshly-turned-19 British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor who, tomorrow, will be the youngest soloist to perform at the First Night of the Proms -- the start of what I think is the world's finest and richest summer music festival. (He joins his own country's National Youth Orchestra for a concert in Birmingham in early August.)
We can hear many of the Proms concerts over the web, thanks to BBC 3.
Grosvenor has a freshly-released album on Decca, which I haven't had a chance to hear, yet, because the international release date isn't until next spring. He's been buzzing about the U.K. and Europe over the past couple of years, and it looks like he's on the verge of becoming much better known in this corner of the world.
Earlier this year, the Guardian's Tom Service sat down with a nice chat with Grosvenor, which you can read here.
Here's Grosvenor tackling Chopin's Nocturne in F-sharp Major during his Decca recording sessions, followed by a clip of his cherubic 11-year-old self performing Scarlatti and Balakirev at the BBC Young Musician of the Year final round in 2004. He won, of course.