Sat, Apr 14, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Fund launched for piano prodigy

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Chen Shiu-hui (陳秀惠) and Hsueh Ling (薛凌) yesterday launched a campaign to raise money for Aboriginal musical prodigy Huang Kang (黃康).

The Taichung County-born pianist emerged as an up-and-coming star in Vienna, Austria, by teaming up with a South Korean virtuoso to capture the championship in the piano duo competition earlier this month.

The gifted 16-year-old and his South Korean partner beat more than 200 other aspirants to win the top honor and secure an opportunity to represent Vienna in a nationwide music contest in Austria later this year.

Chen, who is also an Aborigine, told a press conference that talented people like Huang cannot become the "glory of Taiwan" without the support of the public and sound national policies.

Calling Huang "Taiwan's Aboriginal Beethoven," Chen urged her fellow legislators to donate money for a foundation to nurture the musical talent of Aborigines.

She also urged the Ministry of Education to give more weight to cultivating youngsters with special talents.

"We call on everyone to pay attention to this issue because we look forward to having more talented people such as Huang, [Yankee pitcher] Wang Chien-ming (王建民) and [Dodgers pitcher] Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝)," she said.

Huang's father, Huang Yung-kuang (黃永光), told the conference via a phone link that Huang Kang is very persistent in his music studies and has a very clear goal.

"We do not hope that he only enjoys short-term support because of media reports," the father said. "We are looking forward to long-term support."

Huang comes from a family of musicians in an Atayal tribal community in Kukuan (谷關), Taichung County.

Huang, also known by his Atayal name Temu-Yuk, began studying piano under his parents' coaching when he was very young.

As their mountain community had limited musical resources, his parents escorted him to Taichung City every week for piano lessons.

When he was in third grade, Huang took part in a regional piano contest for the first time and easily won the top prize. He has since won several domestic contests.

Encouraged by one of his piano teachers, Huang left Taiwan for Austria after he graduated from elementary school to continue his piano studies.

"It took great courage and resolve for a 12-year-old to leave home and head to a distant land to live and study on his own," said Huang's mother, a music education specialist.

"My son hesitated at first, but his fervent love for music finally helped him overcome his fear, and he bravely traveled to Austria all alone," she said.

In 2003, Huang was admitted to an Austrian music university's piano performance class. In 2005, he was admitted to the University of Vienna to continue his piano performance and music studies.

Huang has set the goal of obtaining a university degree by the age of 18 and a doctorate in music by the age of 22, his mother said.

"After that, Temu-Yuk will pursue his dream of becoming a world-class pianist," she said.

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