A kindergarten student in the Great Neck school district has won top prizes for piano performances in two international youth music competitions.
Xiaoyan Liu, 5, a Parkville Elementary School student who performs under the stage name LeLe, took first place in the Crescendo International Music Competition in the category for ages 5-7, and in the American Protégé International Piano and String Competition in the category for ages 5-10. In both, she was the youngest first-place winner this year.
"When I play, I feel very happy,” she said. "I love the big stage very much."
For placing first in the Crescendo competition, Xiaoyan performed in a winners recital at Carnegie Hall in January. She will perform next month in a winners recital at Carnegie Hall for placing first in the American Protégé competition.
In the latter competition, she also received one of four Judge Distinction Awards from across all age categories.
Xiaoyan, who started to play the piano when she was 3, typically practices for about three hours a day. Her proficiency spans musical genres, from classical to jazz to pop. Her audition pieces for the competitions were Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata No. 20 in G Major, Op. 49 No. 2 and Johann Sebastian Bach's Invention No. 8 in F Major.
In her spare time, Xiaoyan enjoys drawing, golf, skating and tae kwon do.