Musical young brothers hitting the right keys


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019

Classical prodigies: Jacob (above) and Marcus have won numerous international awards for their piano performances.

KOTA KINABALU: Brothers Marcus and Jacob Tan may not even be in their teens yet, but they are already conquering the world of classical piano with their award-winning performances.

Their mother Michelle Lee sent a video recording of Marcus, 11, and Jacob, eight, playing the piano at

the Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition and both boys were chosen as finalists to play in Rome, Italy.

“When I first decided to let them learn music less than two years ago, I thought maybe I would let them try the piano and see how it went.

“After some time learning, we learned about the competition and decided to let the boys try, ” Lee said.

Both Marcus and Jacob went on to win gold in their age category in December 2018.

They later took part in the Grand International Music and Talents Competition in Genting Highlands, as well as the Grand Prize Virtuoso competitions in Salzburg, Austria, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Among the pieces they have performed are Dance of Pages by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, Kobold Opus 71 No.3 by Edvard Grieg and Polka from Ballet Suite No.1 by Dmitri Shostakovich.

“They got gold in all the competitions, ” Lee said.

The brothers have gotten this far thanks to consistent practice, as their mother makes sure that they play the piano every day at home despite only attending piano classes twice a month.

“I make them practise for at least 40 to 45 minutes every day, whether they are in the mood or not, ” Lee said.

To boost their confidence, she also encourages them to play in public places such as subway stations and malls, especially when they are overseas.

Lee said although some people might think she is being too pushy, the practice sessions take less than an hour of her sons’ day.

“They are also busy with tuition and other classes, but of course I allow them time for relaxing activities such as playing games or anything else they have in mind, ” she added.


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