Introducing... Violinist David Garrett

HE is being dubbed classical music's David Beckham and, while it's not hard to see how his boyish good looks could lead to such comparisons, there is a lot more to German-born David Garrett than a pretty face.

A child prodigy, at 13 he was the youngest artist ever to record for prestigious classical label Deutsche Gramophon, and in the next four years the young virtuoso released four albums, the last being the Tchaikovsky and Conus concertos, with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra.

Garrett, who plays a free concert at Ocean Terminal today, was bitten by the music bug at four after his dad gave him a violin to play with. Without a single lesson, the toddler picked it up and started to play.

"After two months without a teacher I was playing better than my older brother," laughs Garrett, now 25. "I think that my parents thought there must be some talent there, so they started to send me out to teachers."

A shrewd move. At the age of eight, with a management team already behind him, he was playing solo with some of the leading international orchestras, including the London Phil-harmonic, the Los Angeles Phil-harmonic and the Russian National Orchestra.

It wasn't long before he started to attract the attentions of some of the world's foremost music teachers and conductors – namely Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado and Pletnev. And he even performed under the direction of Yehudi Menuhin.

"I'm flabbergasted when I listen to recordings of myself at that age," says Garrett, who was putting in seven hours of practice every day while his friends were becoming experts at PlayStation.

"It is weird to hear someone so young play so well, even if it is me," he adds. Having won a scholarship at the esteemed Juilliard School (one of the world's premier performing arts conservatories), Garrett left his native Germany for New York, where he supplemented his student grant with modelling assignments for magazines, like Vogue, and fashion houses, such as Armani, appearing not only in glossy magazines but in catwalk shows.

After graduation Garrett stayed on in the Big Apple, getting himself a new pad in NYC's trendy Hell's Kitchen, where he found himself in the centre of it all – close to the cultural life of the Lincoln Center but near enough to the club culture of Chelsea and the West Village.

It was this new feeling of freedom, coupled with a talent that had been refreshed by his time studying at Juilliard, that led to what he likes to think of as his "first album", Virtuoso.

"This is the first one where I'm in charge," says Garrett, whose newbie hits record stores next month. "The producing, the arranging, the composing – it's totally my project.

"The record company trusted my instincts, gave me freedom to experiment and I came up with all this stuff," adds a young man you'll be hearing a lot more of in the coming months.

&#149 David Garrett, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Kitchen, today, 1.30pm, free, 0131-553 0210

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