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This 10-yr-old guitar prodigy from Apeejay Noida is strumming his way to global fame

Class 5 student Wrig Bhardwaj has won appreciation from some of the leading guitarists in the world for his exceptional musical repertoire

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By: Disha Roy Choudhury, Arijit Roy

At 10, Wrig Bhardwaj from Apeejay School, Noida, has mastered some of the most popular compositions in classical guitar. The budding musician has received international acclaim and is being mentored at present by Greek maestro George Sakellariou, considered one of the world’s greatest guitarists. In an interview, Wrig and his proud father Siddhartha Bhardwaj, Principal Consultant, Sylloge Corporation, talk about the introduction to classical guitar, composition techniques, and role models in the world of six strings. Edited excerpts:

When did you start playing the guitar? How were you introduced to classical guitar?

Wrig: I began playing at the age of five. I grew up seeing my father playing classical guitar and that is how I started playing too. He was my first teacher.

Siddhartha: My son started playing at a very young age. More than learning, he would play by recalling a composition he may have heard. He could play Asturias, one of the most difficult compositions in the world, by the time he was eight.

What kind of relationship do you have with your guitar? Have you named it?

Wrig: My guitar is my friend. I have named it Chandrahas, a weapon of Lord Shiva. I have named my other guitar, the electric one, Pashupatastra. I play up to four to five hours daily.

You were announced the winner of the 6th Spanish Guitar Competition 2021 recently. Tell us about your experience.

Wrig: This was an online competition; the performance was streamed live. I performed three pieces at the event, including Manhã De Carnaval and Recuerdos de la Alhambra. I enjoyed the experience a lot.

You made your international debut at the International Stage4Kids Festival, Netherlands. How did you get the opportunity?

Siddhartha: Once I started sharing Wrig’s work on social media, musicians from abroad began to approach us. They suggested I enrol my son in international concerts. In fact, this concert in the Netherlands has quite a legacy. Due to Covid, the concert was held online this year, marking Wrig’s first international exposure.

Wrig: It was exciting to be part of such a grand event. My friends were also happy, and they congratulated me.

At the event, you won the title of ‘Baby Segovia’ after Andrés Segovia, who is considered the father of classical guitar. What does it mean for you?

Wrig: It was a huge honour. Andrés Segovia is an inspiration. It was my father who introduced me to Segovia’s music about two years ago. It is the precision in his music that I admire. My favourite Segovia composition is Asturias.

Apart from Segovia, who are your role models?

Wrig: George Sakellariou, from Greece, is my favourite. I like the way he improvises and yet retains precision. My other favourite classical guitarists are Baden Powell and Jorge Cardoso.

Siddhartha: Several global artists have watched Wrig’s videos and appreciated his talent. They interacted with us over social media.

You make original compositions as well. Please tell us about the process of creation?

Siddhartha: I started teaching him very basic things such as sheet music. Slowly he started doing things by himself. I just taught him the signs and symbols and he played the entire song Manha De Carnival (Morning of the carnival) by Luiz Bonfa.

It is a very exciting incident. He saw a movie on the life of Mozart. He saw that the person is composing music on his own. In a scene, Mozart just listened to the song and copied the entire song on the piano. So he felt the same. He took the guitar and started playing his own songs on the guitar. I told him to develop the habit of sheet music. Now he is following it, so that way there is a record of his songs. We have made a few videos of his songs as well. Some videos we have put on YouTube, some more will be put on the internet after getting the copyright done. 

In the recent Spanish guitar competition, he has won a fellowship as well. So, the Spanish embassy will be organising some music classes for the next six months with him. I think that this would be a great opportunity for him to learn. In the recent Ubuntu Guitar fest organised by Bosnian organisations, Wrig got the Laureate award for securing the highest marks. He got 98.9 marks out of 100. Everyone there told us that he is the best. We got appreciation from all the maestros there. So we are keeping our fingers crossed. He has a long way to go. He is under the kind guidance of Master George Sakellariou. I’m planning to send him to some maestros outside India but I am first waiting for him to get to that level, become a bit more mature.

You are being mentored by George Sakellariou, one of the best guitarists in the world and also a student of Andres Segovia.  Please tell us about your relationship with him?

Wrig: He is mentoring me virtually at present. I heard his song Tonadilla and I was immensely inspired by it. So I played the song on guitar and made a video of the same. I then along with dad, wrote a message to Guitar Salon International. We sent them the video. They then gave me George Sakellariou’s mail address. Then I wrote to him. I also sent him my video of Tonadilla. He wrote back to me saying that he was extremely glad to see my video of his song and he also wished me well. 

Is there any particular platform where you dream to perform?

Wrig: Yes. I want to perform at the Guitar Salon International.  They have called me to California for a recording of my song named Paper-boat. But travel is not possible at present. So, hopefully soon. 

Any tips for beginners to learn the guitar?

Wrig: Practice! Practice! Practice!

Which type of guitar do you play? 

Wrig: I play the classical, electric and flamenco guitar. I have a total of seven guitars at my home. I love flamenco and classical guitar the most. 

Which is your favourite Guitar piece?

Wrig: Manha De Carnival by Luiz Bonfa. 

Please tell us how you balance music with academics?

Wrig: I reduce my guitar playing time during examinations. I study beforehand and continuously.  I don’t study on the last day (laughs). So, I get the time to play the guitar even during the exams.

What are your other hobbies apart from playing the guitar?

Wrig: I used to practice singing earlier. I used to learn Indian classical singing. I also like to play football. 

Flamenco guitar tunes make everyone dance and feel lively. Tell us what inspires you the most in Spanish music culture?

Wrig: Rumba. It is guitar music which is played during dances in Spain. I like that the most. 

How has your school helped you to pursue your passion?

Wrig: My teachers and classmates have always appreciated me. They always encourage me to keep going ahead.

FIFA 2022 WORLD CUP SERIES EPISODE-1

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