6-year-old Malaysian virtuoso excited to play Elton John's piano

PETALING JAYA - Young Malaysian pianist Yaashinii Kalai Vasudavan is looking forward to playing Sir Elton John's "Big Red" piano when she performs at London's Royal Albert Hall this month.

The six-year-old pianist won the top prize in the piano junior category in the fourth edition of the Grand Prize Virtuoso international music competition, and will debut during the awards ceremony on March 28.

"I am excited to play on the red piano at Royal Albert Hall, and I'm also excited to go to Buckingham Palace, and the London Bridge, and Big Ben," said Yaashinii, when contacted by The Star.

Yaashinii, who resides in Perth with her Malaysian parents, submitted her performance of Clementi's Sonatina, opus 36, No.5, which is her "favourite piece".

She has been playing the piano for three years, and has just started piano grade seven.

"I practise every day," she said.

When she is not playing the piano, Yaashinii enjoys swimming, skating and art.

"We are very proud of her. She is very musical and she loves what she does.

"She is thinking of picking up a second instrument soon. Probably the cello or violin," said Yaashinii's father T. Vasudavan.

The Grand Prize Virtuoso seeks to advance the career and promote the talent of young classical musicians who play strings, piano, wind and chamber music.

Participants are required to submit videos of their performances to be judged by an international jury.