Sophia Kim, Staff Writer

After 11 years of dedication to playing the piano, Ryan Kim has accomplished more than most pianists twice his age have: he has performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

The Diamond Bar High School senior participated in his first piano lesson as a preschooler after his mother noticed his interest in the instrument. Ever since, he has been taking lessons with different teachers to learn new skills that could improve his abilities.

“My past teachers encouraged to find other teachers and learn new things as they felt that I had learned everything that they had to offer,” he said.

Throughout Kim’s piano career, he passed all 10 CM levels and received honors in each test. In addition, he received recognition in the panel level of the CM test, which is an extra level that a pianist can participate in after completing all the standard levels.

Utilizing the skills that he’s obtained over the years, Kim won first place at the Southwestern Youth Music festival last July as well as three years ago at the same festival. He also won the Winter Chopin festival his freshman and sophomore year. Kim was invited to two state-wide piano conventions in which he performed for teachers and parents as a sophomore and junior.

Kim stated that one of his greatest accomplishments was when he performed at Carnegie Hall last summer. After submitting a video of his piano performance, he was one of the few hundred chosen out of nearly 10,000 submissions to have an opportunity to play at the prestigious concert venue. He performed “Diabolical Suggestion” by Prokofiev, a piece in which he dedicated a year to practicing.

Twice a year, Kim participates in his teacher’s recitals to showcase his improvement. Despite his accomplishments and abilities, Kim feels that his dedication to practicing is what got him to where he is today. Balancing school work and piano has always been a struggle for him, as he hopes to achieve the most out of both.

“Many times, you’re discouraged to stop because your workload is a lot but I feel that once you overcome those challenges, it’s worth it in the end,” he said.

Kim stated that he feels gratitude towards his teachers for helping him develop his interest in piano. He believes that piano has opened up another world for him where he is able to express his emotions.

Although his parents would sometimes tell him to quit and focus on his studies, his teacher’s passion and his love for piano overcame the hardships.

“My teacher motivates me to keep going and explore more about piano to see what I can do with [it] in college,” he said.

In addition to playing the piano, Kim is also a part of Diamond Bar High School’s symphony orchestra and plays the violin. Though he has played the violin for six years, Kim stated that he is concentrating more on piano, and hopes to minor in music in college.

“He is a person that is very hardworking and also very humble [which] makes him a very good musician,” Ryan’s piano teacher, Linda Antonelli said.  “I hope he continues with music and be able to express himself through music.”