PRACTICING the piano is torture for many kids but for 11-year-old Niu Niu, letting his fingers dance across the keyboard is just as much fun as dashing around outside in the sunshine. He is really “playing” the piano.
And this young pianist will soon be “playing” the big time with a solo concert at the National Grand Theater on Tuesday, December 23.
Niu Niu does not have the demeanor many would expect of a pianist. He can’t sit still for a minute, except when he’s at the keyboard.
“I was born in the Year of Ox which is how I got the nickname ‘Niu Niu’,” he said, his two forefingers extending at both sides of his shaking head, resembling an Ox.
The “little ox” – his real name is Zhang Shengliang – is a junior student of the Affiliated Middle School of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, as well as the youngest pianist ever contracted to EMI Music in China.
Although he has never done any piano exams, Niu Niu is a seasoned stage performer. He did his first solo concert in Xiamen in Fujian Province at age six, has performed with well-known musicians such as Lang Lang and Leslie Howard, and on stage abroad in Britain and France.
His recital at the National Grand Theater will be by the youngest pianist ever to perform a solo concert at the venue.
Niu Niu still has school classes to attend and now spends his spare time, about four hours a day, practicing for the concert.