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Video: One-armed pianist helps to launch Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival in stunning style

By David Young

Amazing one-armed concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy stole the show at the official launch of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival.

The talented English musician is one of the stars of this year's festival which starts next month. Born without his right hand, Nicholas - who studied at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London - plays classical music written to be played single-handedly.

"I loved performing at the launch of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival. Can't wait for my concert on October 10," Nicholas (below) said.

Welcoming the launch of the packed festival programme, Arts Council chairman Bob Collins said: "One of the crucial things about the festival is that it actively wants to be for all of the people of Belfast.

"This festival is not just for a select few - it's for everybody

Richard Donnan of sponsors Ulster Bank said: "It's tremendous programme, and we're proud to be associated with it."

Tourism NI spokeswoman Kathryn Thomson felt the festival would boost Belfast's profile as a cultural destination.

"This is an event which really animates the city," she said.

"It's attractive not just to local audiences but to international visitors and visitors from the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. We look forward to a successful 2015 festival and a bright future ahead."

Watch Nicholas McCarthy play at the launch event http://goo.gl/5euZR8 Full Festival programme: http://belfastinternationalartsfestival.com/downloads/BIAF_2015_Programme.pdf

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