A six-year-old Chinese-American boy is being called a piano prodigy, after beating out thousands of applicants from around the world in a prestigious musical competition this year.
Winning the prize got him to New York’s famed Carnegie Hall where he was among the youngest to perform.
CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.
Visiting New York City for the first time is an exciting experience for many, but William Zhang – had an extra reason to smile. In a few days, he would be playing Carnegie Hall.
The 6-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, won first prize in the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition.
What got him there was this amateur video taken by his father.
He’s playing Mozart, one of his favorite composers along with Bach and Chopin.
“Music brings me happiness and I want to bring the audience happiness,” Zhang said. William’s parents say he always responded to music.
“Whenever there is music in the house, he jumps and moves so we just feel he loves music,” said Julie Wang, William Zhang’s mother.
When he was just two they bought him a $20,000 piano. Their friends thought they were crazy. But they had a hunch he would take a liking to the instrument.
Zhang’s parents wanted him to start lessons at two or three but everyone told them he was too young.
“We feel very frustrated. He can punch the little key and make some beautiful sound and why don’t you teach him But no, nobody want to teach him,” Wang said.
So his parents, who didn’t play instruments themselves, taught him to play baby songs. Then at four and a half he began piano lessons. Today he practices up to three hours a day.
“It’s like the best team: parents, student and teacher. We work together,” said Guangyu Zhang William Zhang’s father.
All that work paid off. In January, the family found out William had won the competition. The news came in an email.
“I didn’t want to tell them because I wanted to make sure. Did I look at it wrong So I blew it up on my desktop computer screen and checked. First place. And then I told them. We were just so thrilled. So excited,” Wang said.
Then came the big day when William performed at Carnegie Hall.
He played his favorite, Mozart. One of the youngest to play, his performance was flawless.
William isn’t yet sure where he’s headed but says piano is definitely in his future.
“Maybe I want to be an artist, maybe a pianist, or maybe composer or piano teacher,” said William Zhang the winner of the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition.
Whatever he decides, William is already firmly on the path to a bright future.