“Everyone has a gift, it’s the lucky ones who discover it,” ruminated Dr Tengku Ahmad Shahrizal, the father of New York-based musical prodigy Tengku Ahmad Irfan.
We caught up with the father and son, who were in town last month for Tengku Irfan's Bartók Piano Concerto at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas.
Currently a student at The Juilliard School, undertaking a double major in piano and composition, the 19-year-old is performing a balancing act between piano, composing, conducting, high school academic work and spending time with family and friends.
“Both passive and active involvement in music gives me incredible amount of drive in ways that I cannot explain. Another obvious source of willpower is the amazing support from my family, teachers, friends and all the wonderful kind-hearted people I’ve met along the way,” explained Tengku Irfan on what keeps him going.
When asked what legacy he would like to leave behind, the Aspen Music Festival regular said: “I guess just like any composer, it would mean a lot to me if my music can be remembered and stand the test of time. I can always dream!”
We also put his dad through the wringer on raising gifted children. “Let children be, don’t force them to do what they have no interest in. Our job is to nurture, not torture,” was his humble reply.
Watch a snippet of Tengku Ahmad Irfan’s recent performance of Bartók Piano Concerto with Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and conductor Harish Shankar.
Don't miss out on the George Town Festival 2017, happening between July 28 to September 3.