Concert pianist plays ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ on a child’s toy piano. And it’s really, really good.

1 September 2021, 16:08 | Updated: 1 September 2021, 16:23

Flight of the Bumblebee, Julian Clef
Flight of the Bumblebee, Julian Clef. Picture: Julian Clef

By Kyle Macdonald

One of classical music’s most virtuosic piano pieces, expertly played on a tiny toy piano...

The rapidly flying notes of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ are enough to challenge even the most seasoned virtuoso.

But here, the scurrying show-stopper is heard on an instrument that possesses its own considerable set of challenges.

Enter pianist Julian Clef, who departs from his usual concert grand piano and instead crouches at a small, red children’s toy keyboard.

Read more: This trombonist playing ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ on a watering can is the bee’s knees

Note for note, with a few transpositions to accommodate the somewhat limited two-octave range of the toy, Julian expertly plays Rimsky-Korsakov’s iconic presto as arranged by none other than Sergei Rachmaninov.

Size of the keys, what we imagine is questionable action from the instrument, and that limited range, but – boy – it’s a remarkably virtuosic performance.

Just take a listen. Bravo!

Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee on a toy piano, by Julian Clef

Julian Clef was in the state of Kerala, India and studied music at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and then the Royal Northern College of Music. in 2011 he won the RNCM Gold Medal.

He’s performed at Buckingham Palace, London, St David’s Hall in Cardiff and at the Dvorak Prague International Music Festival. Julian has also appeared as a soloist in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Classic FM's Orchestra on Tour, The Philharmonia at London's Royal Festival Hall.

Clef’s achievements are even more impressive when you consider that he had no formal piano tuition until he was sixteen years old.

What an astonishing talent (on keyboards of all sizes).