Abbotsford News

Piano prodigy returns to Abbotsford

Eight-year-old pianist Kevin Chen will perform with the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra on Oct. 4. - Submmited photo
Eight-year-old pianist Kevin Chen will perform with the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra on Oct. 4.
— image credit: Submmited photo

“That was fun. When can we do it again?” asked young prodigy Kevin Chen last October after his first ever performance with an orchestra (the Abbotsford Youth Orchestra).

Now, at only eight, Kevin is returning to B.C. from his home in Calgary to play with the AYO on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the South Abbotsford Church (32424 Huntingdon Rd.), this time with his own composition – Symphony # 1.

“After getting his ARCT (Association of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto) teacher’s diploma this past June and placing first in the Canadian Music Competition in Montreal this summer, Kevin decided to write a couple of symphonies, explained AYO director Calvin Dyck.

“He was inspired by the orchestra last year, so this year he is coming back for the AYO to play his first ever symphony - in a world premiere!”

At age five Chen began music studies; at six he was the youngest in Canada to take and pass the Grade 9 Royal Conservatory of Music exams; at age seven he passed his Grade 10 (with first-class honours); now he has his ARTC teacher’s diploma – and he’s only eight.

Because he is still so very small, when he’s at the piano Chen requires a box with a system of levers that are his equivalent of pedals.

“Kevin is akin to Mozart with his incredible capacity for absorbing and memorizing music in a very short period of time. He hears the music in his head when he looks at a score and while he is composing. He has a mature musical sensitivity that you usually only see in a seasoned artist; and he handles technical and musical intricacies with amazing ease.”

While his solo piano writing is like that of a Chopin nocturne, Kevin’s symphonies are in the style of Mozart.

Tickets are available at Kings Music and House of James.

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