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Chinese philosophy drives pianist Simon Wu

Simon Wu

Living by the words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: “Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy”, pianist Simon Wu, 19, from Milnerton in Cape Town is tackling the National Youth Music Competition (NYMC) for the second time.

Hearing his sister playing the piano, the budding pianist started playing the piano out of curiosity at the age of six. His first teacher was Charles Leo. Currently, he is a first-year student at the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town. He is studying the piano under Prof Francois du Toit.

Prof Francois du Toit

In 2013, the rising star was the winner of the Piano category as well as the recipient of the third overall prize at the SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy National Music Competition. Early in 2015, Simon made his debut as a soloist with the UCT Symphony Orchestra at the SACS Concerto Festival. He also won the junior category of the Johann Vos Music Competition in the same year and performed as a soloist in the CPO Youth Music Festival in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

His parents are not involved in music, but his older sister is also playing the piano. According to Simon, he practices up to six hours per day. This leaves no time for extramural activities.

Frederic Chopin

The composer close to his heart is Frederic Chopin, saying he feels that the music of Chopin has an indescribable beauty and it just touches one’s heart in a unique way compared to other composers.

At the moment he has no idea what he wants to do on completion of his undergraduate studies. Simon entered the NYMC to get an opportunity to play on stage and for a panel and an audience. He firmly believes the NYMC offers very valuable experience that anyone can benefit from.