Her talent and passion have taken her around the world and now pianist MiYeon I wants to give something back to the community.
The Auckland-based concert pianist has performed for prime ministers, ambassadors and to crowds of hundreds of thousands of people.
But using her talent to help the community has always been on her mind, Mi-Yeon says.
This month she will perform pieces from some of the world’s great composers at her Gift of Music charity concert.
‘‘My parents have always had a focus on doing things for others,’’ she says.
‘‘From an early age I was taught that a talent is useless if you only use it to fill your own belly.’’
Mi-Yeon held her first Gift of Music concert last November and plans to make it an annual event with the profits going to different charities each year.
‘‘It’s not just about raising money but also to raise awareness as many of the smaller charities find this is the biggest hurdle,’’ she says.
The 31-year old moved to New Zealand with her family from Busan, South Korea when she was a teenager.
She first sat in front of a piano at the age of 9 when her talent and dedication was already getting her noticed.
‘‘As soon as I started learning I knew that playing the piano is what I wanted to do with my life,’’ she says.
By the time she was 16 Mi-Yeon had won countless national competitions and was the first student in the country to be granted a special admission to Victoria University in Wellington at such a young age. She relished the chance to surround herself in her study of music full time, she says.
‘‘And of course I didn’t miss having to do maths and science one bit.’’
Mi-Yeon moved to the United States to further her studies at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University after completing her bach- elor of music with first class honours.
She graduated with her masters degree and was accepted into one of the most prestigious musical academies in the world, the Incontri col Maestro International Piano Academy in Imola, Italy.
She loved living in Italy and says the pace of life became like ‘‘living in a hamster wheel’’ and her health began to decline.
‘‘The life of a concert pianist can be very taxing and very unsettled.’’
She returned home to New Zealand and says it felt like the perfect time to start planning her charity concerts.
This year the money raised will go towards the Child Poverty Action Group and the LAM Trust. Mi-Yeon learnt about the LAM Trust, which raises money for the rare and often fatal lung disease Lymphangioleiomyomatosis, through a friend whose daughter has the condition.
The disease only affects women and as yet no cure has been found.