Exclusive Interviews

Strumming to Glory: Rakesh Biswal, Violinist

by Bikash Das

Violinist Rakesh Biswal is known for his extraordinary performances, delivered with an incomparable virtuosity and technical flair. His skills are the toast of the music lovers. He collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines and curates projects that find an instant connect with music of all eras- traditional to contemporary. He believes art and music of the past and the present form a continuum.

Yet, for all his precocity, Rakesh is only a school lad, studying as a tenth grader at KIIT International School. He was felicitated with the prestigious “Bal Prativa Samman-2019” by Utkal Anuj Hindi Pustakalaya and “Akshaya Sangeet Samman-2018”. Excerpts of a free-wheeling conversation with the Interview Times

What drew you towards violin?

Violin is a non-electric acoustic instrument and its tune is soft and sweet. While still in the fourth standard when I heard the sound of a violin for the first time, I was enthralled by its mesmerizing sound. Then, I learned to play violin. Initially, I played at school functions and later on stages. In 2012-13, I performed at the Akshaya Mohanty memorial programme and since then, I’ve been performing at several big platforms in the state. I play violin to increase my concentration and also for amusement.

Which genre of music do you like to play?

I have tried on my own to play a range of music from classical to modern songs in Odia, Hindi and English. I have created violin covers from many existing songs.

These days, social media platforms give celebrated musicians more control over the distribution of their music. Do you also rate the success of your performances through the social media?

Social media is a beautiful and easy platform of performance as we can monitor the number of views and likes after uploading. I have my own website and YouTube page. I used to upload new violin covers. But claps from the audience are more encouraging than the likes.

How do you juggle violin performances with your regular studies?

Everyday, I am able to manage some time for violin practice after completing my school and daily study. My violin teacher comes to teach on Sundays. During holidays I get some more time to practice violin.

How do KIIT International School and Achyuta Samanta support you?

Our school provides classes for musical instrument learning in which students can learn violin. I learn violin in the school. My teachers are so supportive for violin. Achyuta Samanta has been a strong source of inspiration for me. In my first programme, he felicitated me. He also gifted me a violin then and a new electric violin recently. He always guides and supports me for betterment in music.

Whom do you idolize?

I have watched many videos of Violinist Sandeep Thakur and Abhijit Nair. I was amazed by the beautiful art of Sandeep Thakur in Mohabattein.  I follow them.

What is your future perception?

I have not decided about that exactly. I will complete my education first. Violin has a special space in my heart. I am also learning violin. Given an opportunity, I may make violin as my career.

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