MUSIC + MATHS = GENIUS

Kit ArmstrongThe Verbier Festival is thick with stars, but the one I’m keenest to hear is an 18-year-old, Kit Armstrong. For this mercurial British-Taiwanese pianist-composer, the “prodigy” label has always seemed inadequate: meeting him at the Royal Academy when he was 13, I saw why his tutors called him a genius. Playing Beethoven like a master, while finishing a maths degree in his spare time, was only part of it. His compositions were as intricate as the origami he was designing: a pellucid, playful intellect showed through in everything he did.

He’s still juggling maths with music, but the recital he will give in Verbier reflects his overriding passion for Mozart and Bach. He will play his own works too: the latest, “Origami”, gets its name from the fact that he puts a series of notes through so many permutations that it’s unrecognisable. And he still makes origami. “The concert hall in Dortmund has asked me to create a rhino with wings, which is its symbol. I’ve just given them the plan to make it, if they can figure out how.”

Verbier Festival Switzerland, July 16th to August 1st 
 
~ MICHAEL CHURCH