Teenage pianist Lydian Nadhaswaram from Chennai on Thursday won American reality show The World’s Best, India Today reported. The 13-year-old prodigy won the prize of $1 million, around Rs 6.9 crore.
The show, hosted by James Corden, had Faith Hill, RuPaul Charles and Drew Barrymore as the frontline judges and 50 other judges to help them decide the winner. Nadhaswaram played two piano medleys in the finals and scored 84 points. The runners-up were South Korea’s Kukkiwon group, better known as the Flying Taekwondo Masters, who scored 63 points.
Earlier on the show, Nadhaswaram had stunned everyone by playing Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumblebee at unimaginably high speeds.
Nadhaswaram was accompanied by his music director father Varshan Satish as he received the award. The teenager studies at the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, which was founded and is run by Oscar winner music director AR Rahman.
“Lydian’s success is India’s success, in a world with so much negativity and restlessness, this has brought hope, love and happiness to our lives,” The New Indian Express quoted Rahman as saying. “Who knew that KMMC, a seed sown 11 years ago, would bring such inspiration to so many, such is the extraordinary power of music.”
In a video Rahman posted on Twitter on Thursday, he is seen visiting Nadhaswaram’s home in Chennai with a bouquet of flowers.
The teenager recently made an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to play Mozart blindfolded. During his chat with DeGenerers, the host of the show, Nadhaswaram said he could play two pianos at the same time – and different tunes at that. “So, it’s like, for example in my left hand I can play Mission Impossible, and on my right hand, I can play Harry Potter simultaneously,” he said.
He went on to leave the audience awestruck with his rendition of Mozart’s Turkish March, a video of which was posted by DeGeneres on Facebook. “Lydian is only 13 years old, and he can play Mozart blindfolded. I’m 61 and I can’t spell Mozart blindfolded,” she wrote.