Pianist plays 7 levels of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ with increasing virtuosity

15 March 2024, 15:22 | Updated: 15 March 2024, 15:24

Pianist plays 7 levels of 'Twinkle Twinkle'
Pianist plays 7 levels of 'Twinkle Twinkle'. Picture: YouTube/Cateen

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ becomes ‘Blinding galactic explosion’ in just seven steps. Prepare to enjoy some *truly* wonderful pianism.

A musician has shared his seven variations on ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, each variation increasing in virtuosity.

Hayato Sumino is a 28-year-old Japanese classical pianist recently signed by Sony Classical, and one of Classic FM’s 30 Rising Stars in 2024. He is now seeing huge success on the concert stage, with a debut album coming out in the autumn – but a few years ago in his YouTube era, Sumino was better known as ‘Cateen’.

The pianist started playing aged three and has since garnered multiple awards, including a Gold Prize at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Asia in 2017.

Which starts to make sense of why this video is so impressive...

In this viral video from a few years ago, Sumino starts at Level 0, and already he’s a step ahead of us, beginning his musical journey with the nursery rhyme’s humble melody and a simple walking bass line, and throwing in a few elegant turns in the right hand for good measure.

At Level 1, the no-frills melody starts to gain some Mozartian flourishes. Moving into Level 2, the lullaby gets some lovely scrunchy harmonies underneath.

Read more: ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ in the style of Beethoven is genius >

Pianist plays 7 levels of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ with increasing virtuosity

Level 3 is a jaunty, ragtime keyboard work. Moving up to Levels 4 and 5, ‘Twinkle twinkle’ is given an extra lick of paint as it gains virtuosic flourishes, Liszt-esque bravura passages and brilliant arpeggios.

Level 6 is basically a Chopin Etude, with full, unbridled use of the keyboard’s 88 keys, and chromatic runs for days as the melody moves into the left hand for the first time.

If your heart has got this far, Level 7 is a feast of masterful pianism, dizzying speeds and a rich tapestry of colours and dynamics worthy of a Carnegie Hall standing ovation.

Can we go lie down now?

See more of Hayato Sumino’s videos on Facebook and Instagram – and explore our full list of 30 Rising Stars for 2024 here.