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This musician has that magical touch

Meet Vahid Missagh, the violinist with Indian roots who is now serenading the world

Express News Service

Mumbai, July 29: WHEN Vahid Khadem-Missagh woke up the previous morning, he just couldn’t resist one temptation: to walk down the seafront.

‘‘I just strolled down it. Old memories came alive,’’ smiles Missagh, the lanky 27-year-old solo violinist and conductor from Vienna (Austria). Missagh will perform with the Bombay Chamber Orchestra at NCPA, Nariman Point on Friday.

He has reason to be nostalgic about Mumbai.

It’s here that his father Bijan met his mother Shirin, then a Mumbai girl and a connoisseur of music.

Seated in his grandparents’ spacious, squeaky-clean drawing room at Worli Naka, Missagh says: ‘‘I have visited Mumbai several times before, but this is my first performance in the city. I am a bit nervous, but I know the city has always encouraged young musicians.’’

He was all of four when his father placed a violin in his hands. He never left it since, going on to cut his first album at 18. ‘‘I grew up with music around me. I never felt the need to choose any other career,’’ explains Missagh. He has performed in several European and Japanese cities.

Proud of his Indian connection, the musician imbibes India’s great musical tradition.

‘‘I have heard sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and feel proud that he comes from my mother’s country,’’ he says.

A regular with several philharmonic orchestras in Austria and Germany, Missagh has performed at several prestigious festivals, including the Edinburgh International Festival.

Interestingly, he is an amateur magician too. ‘‘Sometimes people ask me for magic at a performance. I perform a few tricks,’’ he laughs. ‘‘The essence of music is magic. Good tunes leave you spellbound.’’

Belonging to the Baha’i faith, the musician feels elated that the Baha’is have spread to different corners of the world.

‘‘Everywhere I go, I find them. I never feel alienated,’’ he explains even as his maternal grandfather Sheriar Nooreyezdan (he supervised the construction of the world-renowned Baha’i Temple at New Delhi) chuckles.

‘‘We knew that he would one day become a famous musician,’’ adds Nooreyezdan, his wizened eyes twinkling.

Well, Nooreyezdan’s pride is Mumbai’s too.

©Copyright 2004, Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay). All rights reserved.

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