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Keying into summer

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-21 08:00

Ju Xiaofu has worked his way to become one of the most promising pianists in the country since his stage debut at the age of 14. [Photo provided to China Daily]

It is a busy summer for the young pianist, who will go back to New York to continue his study at the Juilliard School.

Besides concerts, Ju keeps practicing at least six hours a day.

"If I didn't practice at least six hours a day, I would feel uncomfortable and things could go wrong," says Ju.

Born and raised in Nanjing, Ju learned to play the piano at age 4 and displayed his talent by winning a number of music awards. At the age of 12, Ju decided to pursue a future career as a pianist and three years later he was enrolled to the middle school affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Since his stage debut at the age of 14, with the Shanghai Philharmonic, where he performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 3, Ju has played with orchestras, including the China Philharmonic, Xi'an Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Youth Philharmonic.

In 2018, he traveled to New York to pursue his bachelor's degree at the Juilliard School with Yoheved Kaplinsky.

Ju's mother, Lei Shurong, who is a translator and an author, recorded his growth and his music study by publishing a book, titled Mr Potato Starts to Play Piano.

In the book, Lei writes: "Ju is not a child prodigy. He went through challenges like many other music learners."

Ju says: "It was a process of keeping yourself concentrated and keeping up your musical practice without forgetting about your original goals. I have to be committed and achieve my balance under pressure."

Influenced by his parents, Ju also enjoyed reading as a child. He says his home is filled with books. "Even half of our dining table is taken up by books."

At 16, Ju started to write poems and in 2019, he published his first poetry collection, titled On the Path Seeking for the Ruins of Spring, which has about 150 poems he wrote from 2016 to 2019.

"Music and poetry are two art forms that are indispensable for me. Both are my personal expression and mirrors of my life," Ju says.

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