Piano Prodigy to Present Two Free Concerts This Weekend

A 9-year-old piano prodigy will inspire the hearts and minds of children and adults during two, free concerts this weekend and will interpret the works of some of the greatest classical music composers. (photo)

Katelyn Tran, praised for her virtuoso-like technique and excellent musicality, will offer a free recital for approximately 800 Laredo school children today at 10 a.m. at the United Independent School District's Student Activity Center.

The concert will be repeated for the general public, also free of charge, on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m., in the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Tran is the featured artist for this year's Rising Stars Non-Subscription Series, sponsored by HEB and presented by the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, in conjunction with Texas A&M International University and Laredo Community College. The Series will feature child musical prodigies from around the world and will be the first of its kind in Laredo.

Among Tran's repertoire are the works of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Shamo, Prokofieff, Debussy and Kabalevsky.

Tran's talent, hard work and devotion to the art have led to her recognition in the United States and beyond.

She has been studying the piano since the age of four with Veda Zuponcic, professor of music at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. A hard worker, Tran practices between two and three hours every day, striving to achieve the goals she sets for herself.

Tran has won numerous honors and prizes for her piano playing, including the international Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington, D.C.; the coveted Stravinsky International Piano Competition; Leschitizky Association; Plainfield Symphony Competition; and the Battleground Symphony Competition. She recently received a Gold Medal at the Young Pianist Competition of New Jersey. She has won the Princeton Steinway Society Competition and has won the First Prize for the NJMTA Young Artist Competition annually since 1999.

She has been invited to perform at Carnegie Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, the Donnell Library Center in New York and Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center of Philadelphia.

LPO President Theresa Nimchan said the Orchestra is proud to welcome Tran to Laredo.

"We are especially excited about the prospect of being able to provide the children of Laredo with an opportunity to meet these young musical prodigies personally," Nimchan said, "The free student recital will give school children the chance to experience the incomparable thrill of hearing a classical piano performance ...in many cases, for the first time in their lives... and see for themselves that dreams can be realized with determination and hard work."

Brendan Townsend, LPO musical director, explained that a vital, well-supported orchestra is a clear sign of a vital, culture-rich city.

"One way to ensure support for the Orchestra is to educate community members about the music we perform. Cultivating a knowledgeable audience and an appreciation of classical music in South Texas must begin with our children. What better way than to bring child performers here, so that our own children can see what they might accomplish?" Townsend asked.

For more information, contact Townsend at LCC at 721-5330, at TAMIU at 326-3039 or by e-mail at btownsend@tamiu.edu.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu