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Pic courtesy: @sabine pichler

For a musician, with strong music, there are times when music flows as a river. This happens once all thoughts and
computational action of the mind is abandoned leaving space for the subconscious mind to take over the self. This results in the subconscious taking over the conscious mind and the muscular system, to emit musical energy in its most pure form. Quite a mouthful, the jazz, improvised musician experienced this phenomenon, at his very first appearance at the International Jazz Piano festival in Prague.

“At that moment I sat down at the piano I could have heard a needle fall, it was so silent. I was overwhelmed by the concentration of the audience. During playing your senses are way more open to everything that happens,” he says.

It all began at home, when Philipp  was about five years old. His father used to play to him from a keyboard every day after coming home from work. “All of a sudden, I tried to imitate him on the keyboard. On each day I watched him closely as he played and made it a challenge to practice what he played and play it back to him when he came home the next day,” he says. He played by ear during these occasions, trying to copy his father. “When I visited my grandparents in Hungary as a child there were no television or computer. I had two options, either to play out in the garden or be at the piano. I choose the piano most of the time.”

He started his first formal music education at the age of 10, at a small music school in Austria. There, he started reading music notes and learning proper piano technique for the first time. “It was pretty late,” he says with a smile. At the age of 16 he was taken under the wings of Christian Wegscheider a premier Austrian jazz pianist. “One of my high school teachers forwarded me his number and he had a huge waiting list. I played him a piece I wrote myself and he took me in right away.” Philipp was nervous, as any aspiring artiste meeting a big name in the genre would be. “I was shaky all over,” he shares.

After one year with Christian
Wegscheider, he went onto join
Anton Bruckner Privatuniversitat
in Linz, Austria.

“The first time I took my entrance exam, I failed the music theory test because I was extremely nervous. But they loved my practical performance and took me in. I resat for the music theory paper later.” At the university, for the first time, he was surrounded by people who shared the same passion for jazz music. “It is not one teacher who makes a gifted musician. It’s more the people you are surrounded by, the community of challenging and loving musicians,” he says. For him it is very important to be challenged on a regular basis. “I was never comfortable with the comfort zone,” he shares. “If you challenge yourself with things you have never done, that’s the place where new things can happen. The place to evolve. There is space for magic to happen.”

From there onwards he was plunged into the world of musical accomplishments. He was a finalist at the Austrian Jazz awards, winner of Marianne Mendt Jazzforderpreis, which gave him the opportunity to play at a famous club in Vienna. There he met the people who gave him the opportunity of being one of the free pianists at the International Jazz Piano Festival in Prague.

Two of the major projects he is involved in started about two years ago. One is the band Bye Maxene, specializing in playing the music of 30’s and the other is Varmint Control which plays jazz-rock fusion music. An album is scheduled to be released soon. It was the music and travelling that made him visit Sri Lanka in the middle of his projects. “I am really enjoying my time here,” he says.

“The great part of music is time. We learn from physics that we can’t tie down time. What one can do is move the body to music. The slight movements of your head, your feet and your arms specify time,” he concluded.