YONKERS, N.Y. – A smooth playing Yonkers pianist showed off his skills in one of the world’s most prestigious venues last weekend.
John Peter Redmond, 13, tickled the ivory keys in front of a large crowd at New York City’s Carnegie Hall Saturday as part of a showcase for some of the tri-state’s best young musicians.
“It’s exciting,” he said the day before he took the stage. “I don’t have stage fright. I get a little nervous but usually I can do okay.”
Saturday’s performance was conducted as part of The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, a prestigious music study course that provides instruction to students at various levels of development.
To qualify for the Carnegie Hall showcase, or “Tri-state Certificate of Excellence Recital,” young musicians must score at least an 80 percent grade on the program’s proficiency exam.
Thanks to a score of 96 out of possible 100, Redmond joined roughly 40 other students from New Jersey, Connecticut and New York at the Manhattan concert hall.
But the teenager is no stranger to the bright lights. Saturday was the third time in three tries the decorated pianist has made the cut and been invited to perform.
“It’s a great experience,” Redmond said.
This year, however, Redmond decided it wasn’t just any musical piece that he would perform. He played “Prelude on Old Hundredth,” a number that he had written himself.
“I had the idea for it a while before,” he said. “My teacher gave me some suggestions and I wrote it over several months in small chunks.”
Born into a musical family, Redmond has always been interested in music, his mother, Renee, said. Even as a toddler he would sit on his father’s lap and bang on the piano keyboard, she said.
When he was seven years old Redmond began taking lessons and the family knew then that he had been given a gift, his mother said.
“It’s really special to see the gift that he has been given come and be shared with people,” Renee Redmond said. “It’s a great experience to see your child blossom.”
But success hasn’t come without work. Redmond, who is home schooled, said he tries to practice the piano at least three hours a day. In addition, he studies musical composition and theory at Concordia Conservatory in Bronxville.
And now, Redmond said he has his sights set on something new.
“I would really like to write music for films,” he said.