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Musician follows his passion

The youngest of three, pianists of his family, John Smith, 17, is a firm believer in the importance of pursuing passions and realising one’s potential. He is a learner at Bishops Diocesan College in Rondebosch, Cape Town.

The young musician is not only skilled as a musician. He is also an orator of note. In his free time, he is actively involved in a variety of public speaking and debating activities - he even has represented South Africa internationally!

His musical discovery began at age eight, following a debut on the recorder; a year later, however, he moved on to the Piano. John’s first music teacher was Penny Luyendijk. Nowadays, it is Erina Westgarth-Taylor.

The upcoming star’s two older siblings have also had successful musical journeys during their own school years. Although it is not a focus of theirs in their current stage of life, they do still play tunes casually amongst themselves for their enjoyment.

According to him, his family is very supportive and understanding of his ‘practice time’ at home over weekends; living in a busy household, however, he is fortunately able to spend most of his practice time at school. Apart from the piano, his favourite musical instrument, he also plays the violin, the organ and sings.

He is an active member of his school’s orchestra. “Despite the odd difference, it is mostly resemblant of a full symphonic orchestra. Although we are currently looking forward to performing a concerto at the end of the year, I would certainly appreciate the privilege and experience of a performance with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) if I am able to qualify for it” he murmurs.

John says that Russian composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff, is his favourite music writer due to his innovative displays of romanticism, and his harmonic richness.

The young pianist entered the NYMC to grow and develop his performance capability at a competitive level. He is most looking forward to – on the condition he is able to make it through to the final round - the opportunity of presenting a concerto with a full symphonic orchestra.

He is still conflicted between a future in music or law, stating that he still has to consolidate his choices. “What I do know for certain, is that - as a passionate South African - I am hoping to stay and grow South Africa in whichever capacity available for me to do so,” says John.