Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Cory strikes the right chord at Belfast gala

Cory Shen (16 years old) from Inst. Played piano at a Bar Council Sponsored concert in the Royal Court of Justice in aid of the Bars charities, Friends of the Cancer Centre and Perinatal Trust Fund.Photo by Simon Graham/Harrison Photography

A teen “piano genius” who lives in south Belfast continues to shine in public performances despite being in the middle of his GCSE studies.

Cory Shen (15), a student at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, wowed a packed audience in the Great Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice a few weeks ago, playing for a charity function that raised over £4,000 in one evening.

Alva Brangam QC who helped organise the event said: “Cory’s technical skill was outstanding and he played a full classical |programme that everyone fully |enjoyed.”

He explained he had first heard Cory, who is in his son’s class, at school concerts.

“I thought it would be great to invite him to play here and managed to borrow the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Model D Steinway for him to play on. It was an absolute delight to hear him play on it.”

Cory, originally from Shenzhen, China, moved to Belfast when he was seven. He first learned to play the piano at the age of four, and |approached Inst’s piano tutor Ann Reid when he to the school.

Mrs Reid said: “I immediately knew Cory was different from other pupils who always ask me if I can give them piano lessons. Cory asked me to help study the |instrument, and his technical skills were very evident from the |beginning.

“He received a distinction in grade 8 last year and practices three hours a day, even though he is studying for his GCSEs. Because he is extremely talented I feel it’s important to keep his performances to a minimum this year, with his GCSEs coming up and his young age too.”

Last year Cory won first prize and the Rose of Shoron Cup at the South Korea and China International Competition in 2009. He also recently performed in the |Waterfront Hall with one critic naming him “the most promising concert pianist in the country”.

Of her student, Mrs Reid added: “He continues to be an absolute pleasure to tutor and it’s great to see him perform so well on an |international level. He deserves the accolades; he has worked very hard.”

Cory continues to develop his talents, playing with the school orchestra this year under the |guidance of its Director of Music, Philip Bolton.

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