Good news coming out of Uzbekistan is pretty rare these days. Last night it came in the form of Behzod Abduraimov, a young pianist from Tashkent, who played Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall. My goodness it was exciting. When he walked on to the stage he seemed so young. At just 21 years old – he is. He hung over the piano like a small schoolboy concentrating intensely, and highly enthusiastically, on his homework (see the picture above). His playing was full of energy and a fluidity that was beautiful to observe. You have to be full of passion to play this work and Behzod is. His pale hands, reflected in the lid of the piano moved with such incredible speed that the spectacle alone would have been worth the visit. And he had something else too – you really felt that he was enjoying the performance. He was totally immersed in and moved by the music, but somehow you felt he was also smiling. By the end of the third movement I had tears in my eyes. I’m not sure whether it was the piece, the performance or the fact that a young boy brought up in post-independence Uzbekistan has so much promise – an ambassador and example for his country’s youth. Hurrah!