Mi-Yeon’s gift

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

Mi-Yeon I

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