A gifted Anchorage center university pianist finds a new instrument and rediscovers his enjoy for songs

The impression of piano keys reflect off of Han Keum’s glasses as he plays. (Wesley Early/Alaska General public Media)

Han Keum sat at a black upright piano and meticulously placed his fingers on the keys. The Anchorage eighth grader wore all black apparel just like he would if undertaking a concert. Then, within of the classroom at Northern Lights ABC Faculty, he commenced participating in Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturne Range 9.

Keum and his family members arrived to Alaska from South Korea in 2014. His father, Won, is the pastor of a church where by Keum performs piano alongside his mother, and his oldest brother performs the drums. With instruction from his mom and encouragement from his father, Keum has grow to be 1 of the most gifted youthful musicians in Anchorage. 

But he nearly gave up on songs prior to he found his really like for violin as part of his college orchestra class.

“My mom is the just one who taught me piano,” Keum stated. “Sometimes I perform the violin, my mom performs the piano, she accompanies me when I perform the violin so I consider that’s like, truly just in common, pleasurable.”

A middle school musician plays violin.
In addition to piano, Han Keum is an completed violin player. (Wesley Early/Alaska Community Media)

In sixth grade, Keum required to sign up for the orchestra class, but that meant selecting a new instrument — 1 with strings. A member of his church gave him a violin and he began discovering to perform, largely by himself. 

Northern Lights ABC College Orchestra trainer Katie Eakes observed Keum’s expertise early on, but couldn’t listen to him engage in in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With no orchestra to rehearse with, Keum bowed the strings of the violin for Eakes around a Zoom contact. 

“He’s absent from remaining a starter to currently being prime of the line for his age and his age group, and in contrast to his friends he’s definitely variety of shooting for the stars,” Eakes said.

Keum mentioned he just about gave up on new music. In fifth grade, he tried to study his father’s most loved song on the piano — Chopin’s Revolutionary etude — but was not able to grasp the complicated piece of audio. He stopped playing piano briefly. It was far too demanding. But he reported his teacher, Katie Eakes, helped him rediscover why he played in the initially area. 

“Mrs. Eakes genuinely taught me how like enjoyment it was to just be associated in songs in general,” he explained. “So just overall Mrs. Eakes has taught me how to have enjoyment with music, so I imagine that is what introduced me back to the piano as effectively.” 

In 2022, Keum attended the Anchorage Chamber New music Pageant summer intensive, an 8-day party for musicians from middle college to their mid-20s. Keum only planned to perform his violin, but he stunned his friends and competition judges when he signed up on piano for the pupil levels of competition.

A middle school musician plays piano
Han Keum plays piano in a classroom at Northern Lights ABC Faculty. (Wesley Early/Alaska General public Media)

Zachary Spontak plays in the symphony in Lisbon, Portugal, and serves as the Education and learning Director for the Anchorage Chamber Songs Competition. He assisted judge the opposition Keum entered last summer months.

Having a bit of revenge on the Chopin piece that had eluded him, Spontak claimed Keum nailed the Groundbreaking Etude in the course of the competitors.

“He comes out and performs this surprisingly virtuosic, rapid, really tough piece of songs and we just did not see it coming,” Spontak stated. “It was very cool you know, we didn’t know what to anticipate and we had been just type of blown away, so it was great.”

He won.

Spontak said that not only was Keum the youngest musician entered in the competitiveness, he was the only 1 who played two instruments in the course of the summer months intensive. 

“He genuinely places in the get the job done, you know, and I definitely regard that, so he will get it carried out and of study course he has the awesome aid from his mom and, properly, equally his mother and father,” Spontak reported. “He seriously motivates himself, much too, so I assume that he’s on the suitable path.”

Keum will execute for the previous time with the Northern Lights ABC School orchestra May perhaps 10, and has now auditioned for state-of-the-art orchestra at Support High University, which he will attend next fall. 

“My targets with songs is just to be capable to be excellent ample to make other individuals happy or sense thoughts though listening to me play,” Keum explained.

Keum mentioned he hopes to share his songs with other folks, and to one working day educate younger musicians just as his mom and Eakes taught him.