SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE

Her talent having been witnessed by some of the world's leading pianists and conductors, 12 year-old Aimi Kobayashi has been hailed by them as “a very rare prodigy” according to Patrick Petit, president and CEO of Global Private Equity (GPE), the Paris-based placement agent.

Petit himself is sufficiently impressed to have selected Kobayashi as the fifth musician to have recordings sponsored by his firm since it started offering support to the most gifted students at the Musikhochschule in Vienna seven years ago. Following a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York on June 14, GPE will sponsor Kobayashi's first piano recording. The firm will pay for the production of 2,000 CDs, some of which will be given to the artist with the remainder distributed to friends and clients of the firm.

Kobayashi's rise to prominence is remarkable in many respects. From a poor family background and having received no formal musical instruction, she began playing the piano at the age of three. From the age of six onwards, she won the PTNA piano competition – the largest of its kind in the world – four years in a row. At the age of seven, she was playing with an orchestra and, two years later, made her debut on the international stage.

Since then, Kobayashi has performed at a number of prestigious venues of which Carnegie Hall will be the latest. Others have included the Cortot Hall in Paris and the Tokyo Opera City Hall. Last February, the American Association for the Development of the Gifted and Talented sponsored her televised performance of a Mozart piano concerto in Moscow and St Petersburg.

She has also developed a strong following on the internet, with audiences of around 700,000 reportedly viewing her concerts on Youtube.

Petit, a pianist himself, will have reason to follow Kobayashi's progress more closely than most.

QUOTABLE
“It calls the bottom globally, although it's a terrible deal for Citi. By calling the bottom, they create the bottom and if it works they unblock the system and the market starts to recover.”

London's The Times newspaper, offering the opinion that a reported $12bn purchase of discounted leveraged loans from Citi by Apollo Management, TPG and The Blackstone Group may represent the bottom of the market.

“Investors should understand that we may significantly increase the pace of investment when the ‘prevailing wisdom’ is to sell and may decrease the pace of investment or sell large portions of our funds' portfolios when the ‘prevailing wisdom’ is to buy.”

From several “important observations” listed at the beginning of Apollo Management's most recent IPO prospectus.

“The English language, friendly culture and familiar legal and commercial environment make it far easier to consummate deals here than anywhere else.”

A UK investor talking about India? The reverse, actually. The quote was attributed to Indian aluminium tycoon Anil Agarwal talking about India's prospects for doing deals in the UK in an article in The Times entitled “The Reverse Raj”. Recent deals include the acquisition of iconic car brands Jaguar and Land Rover by Tata, the Mumbai-based conglomerate.

“Forgive the pun, but they probably find it a bit disorienting.” The Blackstone Group co-founder Peter Peterson, appearing last month on talk show The Charlie Rose Show, responding to a question on how the Chinese Government feels about its diminished investment in Blackstone.