Magic Fingers Strikes Again!
Hungarian born musician, Charles Brunner, will stage his latest concert at the Central Bank Auditorium this weekend, July 14 from 7.p.m and July 15 at 6.p.m.
The multiple Guinness world record holder, renowned pianist and founder of Charles Brunner Music School, has made a celebrated career out of music.
Brunner’s Music school has grown to a phenomenal 300 students after starting with just six students in 2006.
His students have won over 30 trophies at the Biennial Music Festival through the years. Brunner served as the musical director, arranger, conductor and pianist for the Brian MacFarlane Production “Christmas Joy in 2015 and 2017. His last sold out concert, “Magic Fingers” was staged for his 50th birthday in 2007 at Queen’s Hall.
“Magic Fingers Strikes Again! --- Charles Brunner in Concert”, is set to thrill patrons with a wide genre of music from the likes of Beethoven to Scott Joplin and Chopin to Bollywood hits and classics from Rossini to Broadway, featuring a 12 piece orchestra.
A series of unfortunate circumstances prevented Brunner from staging his Magic Fingers concert last year for his 60th birthday. He is elated to see his hard work come to fruition this year. Brunner said practise sessions for his upcoming concert is intense. “It’s a two-hour programme. The 12 piece orchestra was very carefully chosen and absolutely local with five strings, five horns and a rhythm section. The rehearsals are ongoing since the beginning of June until the opening night. We are also rehearsing on Sunday’s restlessly.
All the pieces were orchestrated and arranged by me, some of them also my own compositions, featuring seven wonderful singers among them some very young very talented artistes. All are very high quality and challenging pieces including ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’, ‘Tum Hi Ho’, ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’, ‘Beethoven’s 5th in Funky’, ‘A Million Dreams’ (from the Greatest Showman), the ‘Flower Duet’, the ‘Minute Waltz’ and Moonlight Sonata etcetera,” Brunner said.
Although Brunner is proud of his own accomplishments and that of his students, he is concerned that this country rarely stages concerts such as his Magic Fingers series. In 2005 when Brunner visited Trinidad while he was employed as a pianist with the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, the award winning composer didn’t think he’d make the island his home. Eventually Brunner began teaching music here, and found his purpose after recognising his students’ immense talent. Brunner believes that Trinidad and Tobago needs to step up its music education to ensure that students have the best opportunities as possible opened to them.
“Trinidad and Tobago is definitely lacking in concerts on this professional level. Reason being, there is no time enough for musicians to prepare. No time for practice, as musicians have to do several jobs, and have to play at several events to make a decent living. Also there is something not right with the music education in Trinidad and Tobago. There are several institutions but nobody is coming out of them with international qualities.
“I offered my support for free to governments in past years but never had a positive response. I kept doing it on my own, just like this concert, absolutely no sponsors, no support from any institution or business, only from private people, some of the parents of our students are very helpful and supportive but that is it. Music is very expensive to market, so significant support is important. I trust and believe we could go very far internationally if that would happen,” Brunner said.
Brunner is in the process of organising master classes for music teachers. “The solution is to teach the teachers first and then organize music education, instead of improvising all kinds of plans that don’t work. I am planning to have some courses and master classes for music teachers but it is very hard without any support,” Brunner said.
Brunner said music students need support. “Students are very different but most of them do not like to practice. Some are very talented but the parents do not understand the point of progressing. Some of the parents are very supportive and believe in us and those are succeeding with Grade exams as we have close to 100 students who are graded by ABRSM (Royal School of Music) or Trinity College of Music. We stopped doing Trinity as the local representation is lacking of professionalism. The ABRSM (Royal School of Music) representation is in great hands with Mr Jessel Murray,” Brunner said.
Brunner’s music enjoyed success at the recent Biennial Music Festival. “This year’s Music Festival was not as busy as the precious ones for us, since I was very busy with ‘Christmas Joy’, but still our students won several trophies and placed 1st in various categories!
My goal is to feature some of our students and local artists with my own compositions. One of them was my own ‘Ave Maria’ which we debuted at last year’s ‘Christmas Joy’. My compositions and songs have been featured at different venues,” Brunner said.
Magic Fingers Strike Again! Will feature six of Brunner’s own compositions. Special guest artistes include Marvin Smith, LeAndra and Tylah Head, Christian Mendez, Stephanie Nahous, Paul Cort, Natasha Babwah-Tim Kee and others. For further information call 662-3011 or visit Facebook.