Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

GRAVENHURST — Abby Liang was beaming at her Opera House debut.

The nine-year-old captivated the curious audience who came to hear the engaging youngster making a stir in local musical circles with her prowess at the piano.

And while she did herself credit as an accomplished student, playing three lovely, challenging pieces for her that showcased and stretched her natural talent, it was her ease and effervescence that endeared her so to the 135 who were there to wish her well on her journey into a promising classical future.

And she had reason to smile, as she received warm applause — and a bouquet of flowers from her mother as she left the stage after taking a deserving bow.

But part of  the reason for her smile, last Saturday night at the Muskoka Concert Association performance, may not have been purely personal.

It was her front seat to hear her teacher, Kyung-A Lee, who praised her prized pupil and said she was bursting with pride from the wings.

The two have shared a piano bench the past year with hours of lessons in preparation for their Dec. 14 debut performances.

Liang has no doubt heard her mentor countless times as she was tutored on the intracies of pieces by the great composers and pianists like Bach.

And Liang may one day be able to play the same notes, but it will take her many, many more years to perfect the love and feel for the music as comes out of Lee.

The Huntsville concert pianist, who had successful international performing career based in Calgary before moving to Port Sydney a few years ago to be with her parents who own the Smith’s gas bar, did justice to the Steinway grand.

Right from her opening piece — Debussy’s Clair de Lune — exhibited the expressive flair and caressive touch of the keys that had Liang beaming her own pride.

Lee performed up and down the 88 keys with beautiful, seldom heard exaltation and dexterity.

It was a master class for a student in the front row and a rare treat, the kind Muskoka Concert Association subscribers have come accustomed to hearing.

The MCB takes a break now and returns April 5 at Trinity United Church with Brett Polegato, one of Canada’s best baritone singers; then on May 2 they are back at the Opera House with the Sultans of Swing, a gypsy, jazz, flamenco and Celtic-inspired trio that promises to burn up the stage.

Tickets are $32 or $110 for the four-concert season.

Kyung-A Lee opened with a gorgegous rendition of Debussy’s Clair de lune, with expressive flair and a beautiful caressive touch.

Abby Liang, 9, received a warm reception after playing three very promising classical pieces with an ease and comfort that exhuded considerable confidence.

Young pianist Abby Liang was beaming after her successful concert debut Saturday at the Opera House.
MCA president Diane Harrop listens as Abby Liang introduces her second piece.
Her proud mom presents Abby Liang with flowers after her performance.

Email Mark Clairmont at mark@muskokatoday.com

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