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Energised By Maksim
By R.S. Kamani (New Sunday Times, 19/12/2004), donated by Christina.

It was a showcase like no other for five grand prize winners of the Showtime/EMI Maksim in Genting contest recently. The winners were not only given VIP treatment but also a golden opportunity to meet and greet their idol, the Croatian piano player, Maksim Mrvica, on stage, much to the envy of thousands of restless fans. At the Maksim Showcase held at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands last Saturday, excited fans including the winners were fervently wishing they could get a closer look at the fingers that drove them crazy by playing the piano.

“His fingers move faster than a humming bird. It’s like he has got super powers to hypnotise people simply by striking piano keys,” said a contest winner, Noreen Ooi. “We get a certain energy by just watching him play,” she added.

Another winner, Lee Zhi Wei, 15, said that his love for classical music had gotten him so engrossed with Maksim when he saw the pianist on TV. “I love the way he fuses classical music with modern music,” said Lee.

Another ardent fan, Liew Jee Fong, 19, said she is so fascinated by his performance style. “He has got such a style when he plays the piano. I’ve never seen anyone with so much passion,” she said.

Maksim was greeted by an auditorium full of screaming fans when he entered the stage and took a bow. He performed tracks from his latest album Variations I & II including Kolibre, Amazonic, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and two encore performances. His latest album was a composition of classical beats combined with what Maksim calls electro-pop music.

The crowd got more excited when he played The Flight of the Bumble-Bee track from his previous album The Piano player which became an instant hit after it was released. Although his performance was over within a solid 40 minutes, the packed auditorium did not clear up as fans begin to mov in closer to the stage, hoping to get a glimpse of their favourite piano player again.

Lucky contest winners from numerous publications were brought up the stage after the showcase for an autograph and photograph session. It was a short performance indeed butu Maksim sure delivered a maximum show.