How a missed train led to fame for an Italian pianist

A young Italian pianist has been catapulted to stardom, with work opportunities flooding in, including playing at a concert in London, after he was filmed playing the piano at Milan's Centrale station.

How a missed train led to fame for an Italian pianist
Photo: Screengrab - YouTube

21-year-old Emanuele Fasano’s performance went viral after being posted on Facebook (video below), earning him legions of fans from across the globe.

And it's all because he missed his train home. 

On December 23rd, Fasano, who was travelling to Rome to spend the Christmas holidays with his family, wandered around the station and saw the piano. Looking to kill some time before the next train arrived, he began to play, stunning passers-by with his virtuous performance.

A crowd quickly gathered as people took a moment from their hectic pre-Christmas schedule to listen to the music, and among them was Italian television producer Alberto Simone.

Simone, who lives in Los Angeles but was in Italy on a brief visit, recorded the performance on his phone, uploading the video to his Facebook page the following day with the caption: “Milano Centrale station. A piano is available for anyone. And this boy passes by.”

Some 3.3 million people have already watched the video, which has been shared almost 70,000 times on the social networking site. 

“I saw the piano and I couldn’t resist,” Fasano told Il Corriere di Milano.

He said that he had been playing the piano since he was four, and had performed on the one at Milano Centrale on several previous occasions.

“On Christmas day, when I was told that I already had so many views I almost didn’t believe it. My dream? To live off music, but for now I’m enjoying this great Christmas gift.”

Thousands of commenters on Facebook asked who the young musician was – and the name of the beautiful tune, which many thought they recognized as the work of Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi.

In fact, the melody spanning six octaves and featuring dramatic crescendos as well as more delicate passages, was an original composition by Fasano, called Non so come mai.

After the video's success, Fasano received many messages praising his talent, as well as several from girls saying they were “in love” with him – and two offers of work. 

He told Il Corriere di Milano that he had two interviews set up, to play at a televised gala dinner in Italy and a concert in London – a city Fasano says he had “intended to go to, to seek my fortune”.

The 21-year-old has played in hotels and restaurants in Italy already, and explained his love for music.

“I think that music and art are an antidote to the instability of this life, in which nothing lasts forever,” he said.

“It might seem melancholic coming from a boy of my age, but I believe that when you play, you leave behind suffering and the uncertainty of life and enter into the eternity of music, into which you can bring your listeners.”

One member of the audience misinterpreted Fasano's motivation for playing, handing him money at the end of the performance. The pianist then gave the change to beggars in the station, one of whom embraced him and said: “Today I will eat something, thanks to you.”

Fasano’s talent may not come as a surprise to those who have heard of his father, the noted composer Franco Fasano. While musical talent clearly runs in the family, the older Fasano is happy that his son has achieved success on his own merit, pointing out that “Alberto Simone was enchanted by the potential of another artist, without either of them knowing about the other.”

Fasano’s father and Simone said they had received numerous requests from other young musicians who hoped for a similar endorsement. “But we don’t know how to reply because nothing was planned – three million views isn’t something you can plan,” said Fasano senior. 

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Italian Eurovision winner tests negative for drugs

Damiano David, the frontman of Italy's Eurovision winners Maneskin, has passed a drug test he took on Monday to clear his name after speculation that he had snorted cocaine at the song contest's grand final.

Italian Eurovision winner tests negative for drugs
Damiano David of Maneskin performs at the Eurovision final. Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

A drug test was “voluntarily undertaken earlier today by the lead singer of the band Måneskin which has returned a negative result seen by the EBU”, the European Broadcasting Union announced on Monday evening. 

“No drug use took place in the Green Room and we consider the matter closed,” the EBU said in a statement, adding that it had checked all available video footage as part of “a thorough review of the facts”.

READ ALSO: Italian Eurovision winners ‘really offended’ by accusations of drug use

David, who was shown on camera leaning over a table backstage in what some speculated could be drug use, had strongly denied the allegations. 

He said the footage showed him sweeping up some glass broken by one of his bandmates.

Måneskin with their trophy after winning the final of the 65th Eurovision Song Contest. Photo: Sander Koning / ANP / AFP

There had been calls for “total transparency” from officials in France, which came a close second in the song contest, after the clip went viral following Saturday’s final in the Netherlands.

The French minister for Europe said that drug use should be grounds for disqualification, though the head of France’s public broadcasting group said they did not plan to challenge the result.

David told interviewers he was “really offended” by the speculation, which he said had marred Italy’s first Eurovision victory in 31 years.

“We are alarmed that inaccurate speculation leading to fake news has overshadowed the spirit and the outcome of the event and unfairly affected the band,” the EBU said, adding that it was looking forward to “a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in Italy next year”.