Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Wang Chien-ming, pianist make list of top 10 ‘youths’

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Star pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) and pianist Liu Meng-chieh (劉孟捷) were among those selected yesterday as the 10 most outstanding young men and women in Taiwan this year.

Wang, a Taiwan-born starting pitcher for the New York Yankees, was chosen in recognition of his outstanding performance in the US major leagues, said Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who was on the panel of judges.

RISE TO FAME

After spending five years in the minor leagues and overcoming arm surgery, Wang Chien-ming joined the big league club in 2005 and emerged as the Yankees’ most consistent starter in both 2006 and last year.

He won 19 games both years, setting a new mark for wins by an Asian pitcher in a major league season.

“Wang’s fighting spirit and superior career achievements have made him a role model for young people in Taiwan,” Wang Jin-pyng said yesterday.

Liu, a recipient of the 2002 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2002 Philadelphia Musical Fund Society Career Advancement Award, was selected for the honor for his refusal to succumb to a debilitating disease and the perseverance he showed in his musical career, the judges said.

YOUNG START

Liu made headlines in 1993 as a 21-year-old student at the Curtis Institute of Music when he substituted for Andre Watts in the All-Star Series at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

The concert earned high acclaim and was followed by a number of widely praised performances, including a recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

TRAGEDY

Liu’s career, however, was abruptly halted by a rare and debilitating illness that affected his connective tissues in 1995.

After being hospitalized and almost immobile for two years, a determined Liu underwent intensive physical therapy and embarked again on his concert career in 1998.

An award presentation ceremony is scheduled to be held on Nov. 21, said officials from the Taiwan Junior Chamber, which sponsors the annual awards.

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