Ryan Zhu placed first for his age group in the Crescendo International Music Competition in Vancouver and now he's off to play the piano at Carnegie Hall in New York. Zhu will join winners from around the world on the stage. The honour has come after years of hard work. Zhu's mother, Gwen Yeung, says that he practices on average 2-3 hours each day and much more when he's preparing for a recital or performance.
The result has been steady growth as a pianist. Zhu, who is now 10 years old, has consistently achieved the highest mark in British Columbia in his Royal Conservatory of Music Piano Exams. He was the RCM Gold Medalist for Grade 7 as well as for the two preceding years.
Laurier principal Janet Souther recently attended one of Zhu's solo performances at Tom Lee Music. She says that while much of Zhu's practicing happens outside of school, all of Laurier benefits from his gift.
"It is such a privilege for everyone at the school to see a student who is so focused and willing to share his gift," said Souther.
She says that despite his high musical level, Zhu never fails to accompany the Laurier choir and play at regular Friday assemblies.
Both Souther and Zhu's mother say that when Ryan is outside with his pals, he's as rambunctious as any Grade 5.
But when he gets in front of the piano, something changes. His mother says he starts to sit still and Souther explains that he falls into almost a trance. At that moment, the music is the only world he's living in.