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Piano prodigy, 8, plays premiere B.C. recital to raise funds

Lucas Yao, 8, played eight pieces raising money for his music education
Lucas Yao played his first piano recital at Pyatt Hall at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music.(Special to The News)

A Pitt Meadows piano prodigy held his first recital, memorizing more than 20 pages of music to benefit his future music education.

Lucas Yao, 8, admitted he was a little nervous about the recital, even though the 8-year-old had performed in front of groups of people many times before and has won many national and international competitions including BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association, CDMF Performing Arts Festival Society, American Protégé International Competition to name a few. Last year he even performed with an orchestra in Italy and in 2020 he was invited to lay at New York City’s Carnegie Hall after a first place finish in his category at the Crescendo International Music Competition.

“This time there was more people, and I’m kind of nervous with lots of people watching me,” Lucas said about the recital that was held at the Vancouver School of Music’s Pyatt Hall in Vancouver at the beginning of June.

His mother, Cindy Liu, estimates between 80 to 100 people turned out see Lucas play.

RELATED: Pitt Meadows piano prodigy memorizes Pi

Lucas had eight pieces to perform from various composers including: Frédéric Chopin’s Impromptu No. 1 in A-Flat Major Op. 29th; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 12 Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman”, and many more.

He said the most difficult piece he had to play was a concerto because it was the longest piece and he had to play, 20 pages alone, and he had to play it with a partner – his teacher.

The hardest part of the recital was playing on an unfamiliar piano.

Lucas is not only known for his skills as a pianist but his ability to remember the digits in Pi. At five years old he had memorized Pi up to the first 50 decimal places, at six year he knew up to the first 1,000 decimal places, and now he can recite it to the first 2030 decimal places.

READ MORE: Pitt Meadows wunderkind continues to wow

He is also an actor with roles on Netflix and Disney Plus and this year he was invited to join Team BC by the BC Chess Federation for being the top-rated player in his age group.

Lucas’ advice for other pianists preparing for their first recital is to make sure their bodies are comfortable before they perform.

“Don’t be hungry or eat too much,” Lucas advised and, empty your bladder before you go on stage.

He also advised to get there early to become familiar with the new environment and piano.

“And to try to enjoy your music,” he said.

Lucas raised about $1,000 to put towards his future musical education.

Part of the money, said his mother, went towards attending the second round of the Canadian Music Competition on June 26 in which he took second place in his category.

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Lucas Yao played his first piano recital at Pyatt Hall at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music.(Special to The News)

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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