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Piano prodigy to play with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Adrian MacNair photo

Adrian MacNair photo

Every parent wants to encourage their child by telling them they can be anything they want when they grow up.

Tsawwassen musical prodigy Joshua Tromans, who recently turned 12, took his mother’s encouragement to heart. At the age of five, his parents took him to watch the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) perform a piano concerto.

“After everybody left he wanted to stay and sit down at the piano. He looked at the stage and he said, ‘mommy, when I’m 12 years old I’m going to perform with the VSO.’ And I said, ‘OK, let’s see,'” recalls his mom, Jullie Izawa, laughing. “And he’s actually going to do that!”

Joshua is set to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, First Movement, with the VSO on Feb. 16, 2017, at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver.

The significance of this achievement cannot be overstated. Most pianists can work their entire lives and not once sniff the opportunity to play with a symphony orchestra, let alone one as prestigious as the VSO.

But then, Joshua is not “most piansts”. A graduate of the Royal Conservatory Music with First Class Honours at the age of 10, the youngster has already taken part in “master classes” with such renowned musicians as Tomislav Baynov, Inon Barnatan, and more recently, Angela Cheng, who is a Gold Medalist in the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competition.

“After [Joshua] performed, she said, ‘music is alive and well in Canada,'” says Jullie.

Every day, Joshua takes the bus from South Delta to downtown’s VSO School of Music, where he works with Sergei Saratovsky, a brilliant pianist in his own right. He is helping Joshua, who practices four to six hours a day, prepare for the upcoming piano concerto.

According to Jullie, he is also studying a diverse number of composers, styles and is “working on his craft”, developing his technique, his expressiveness and his interpretion of music. His grasp of complex music at such a young age is so profound that he’s turned the heads of some of the most renowned musical talents in the world.

“I know it sounds biased from a mother but it’s not just me talking. It’s the professionals, the pianists and musicians and everybody’s quite impressed in how much he’s developed, not just technically speaking with the level of the pieces but also in the intrepretive skills.”

The piece Joshua will perform is roughly 20 minutes long, spanning 60 pages of music, and is among the “top five” most difficult pieces he’s ever played, he says.

For tickets to his performance, visit vancouversymphony.ca.

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