Jerry Feng, Knoxville Choral Society Young Classical Musicians Competition Winner, Piano

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Have you been playing long?

I was born playing the piano. And by “born playing the piano,” I mean since the first grade.

Have you spent more hours practicing, or riding back and forth from Farragut to lessons and competitions?

Hey, Dr. Brunell, Piano Teacher Extraordinaire, I know you’re reading this. Erm, I have spent more hours practicing piano.

Does all that work on the piano make you better at video games? What’s your favorite game?

It’s definitely the other way around. There’s no doubt about what my favorite video game series is: The Legend of Zelda. Or is it Pokémon? Or Mario? Or Final Fantasy?

You’re still only 15. Do your parents have to bug you to practice?

If you only knew—I mean, of course not!

How many pages is your favorite classical music piece, and how long does it take to play?

Currently, my favorite is the Chopin Scherzo I played at the [Knoxville Choral Society Honors] concert (Scherzo in Bb minor No. 2 Op. 31). It’s like 16 pages long and on average, is 10.5 minutes long. I only played an excerpt for the concert. By the way, happy 200th birthday Chopin!

Do you memorize, or play from the sheet music?

I automatically memorize my pieces over time.

Do you have to be careful not to have a career-ending hand injury?

Yes! You have no idea of what kind of stupid things I have done that have hurt my hands—slamming a car door on my thumb, falling off of a soccer ball, etc.

What’s your favorite song to play on piano that your classical music/youth orchestra friends would be surprised to learn you love?

“Chopsticks.” I can go on for hours. Sadly, my friends cannot. There seems to be a inverse correlation between the quantity of friends I have and the amount of hours I spend repeating “Chopsticks.”

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