Coquitlam pianist to play Carnegie Hall

Coquitlam pianist Sue Wang.  - courtesy of carla read
Coquitlam pianist Sue Wang.
— image credit: courtesy of carla read

For most 11-year-old girls, Mother's Day may mean flowers for mom and spending a little more time together.

But Coquitlam's Sue Wang will be giving mom Yi Zhao a gift she will never forget: A performance at Carnegie Hall.

Wang, a Grade 6 student at Citadel middle school in Port Coquitlam, got the opportunity of a lifetime after placing third in her age group at the American International Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition 2014.

Young musicians from more than 27 countries took part in the contest and Wang dazzled the judges with her rendition of Chopin's Nocturne Opus 27 No. 2 — a piece of which she said, "I like the melody. Most of my favourite composers are the Romantics."

Wang will play the evening song again on Sunday in the Weill Recital Hall at New York City's Carnegie Hall — the place where only the best pianists are invited to play.

She will be accompanied to the concert by her parents and teacher, Carla Read, who has instructed Wang since she took up the instrument at the age of six.

"As her teacher, I recognized her immense talent when she first auditioned at my home," Read said. "She has fast fingers, perfect pitch and an amazing memory. For a young student, I was also impressed with her beautiful tone and expressive playing."

Wang's skill allowed her to advance quickly through her Royal Conservatory of Music exams: Last year, at the age of 10, she gained 94% in her Grade 10 test. And this past January, Wang earned her ARCT level, which qualifies her to teach.

As well, she scored first-class honour marks in her theory exams, including music history, harmony and counterpoint. On the festival circuit, Wang has also seen success at the Burnaby Clef, Coquitlam and Kiwanis music competitions.

Still, piano isn't her only passion. Wang plays violin, likes art and writing fantasy and adventure stories.

As for her plans after high school, Wang said, "I haven't really thought that far ahead but probably something to do with writing and music."

She admits she's nervous about her Carnegie Hall appearance but is looking forward to her first trip to the Big Apple.

Best of all, besides Mother's Day, Wang will have something else to celebrate on Sunday: She will make her Carnegie debut on her 12th birthday.


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