Piano prodigies hit the right notes

February 20, 2009 8:39:44 PM PST
Two gifted young musicians are turning plenty of heads these days at the region's premier music school and they just happen to be related.The Hsu brothers are piano prodigies and new students at the Curtis Institute in Center City.

11-year-old Daniel is the youngest at the school and 14-year-old Andrew is a pianist and composer. Incredibly, their parents are not musicians, but their older sister is.

"We had an upright piano and I would just always play fool around on it so I asked my parents for piano lessons and they gave it to me. Then I eventually, really loved it, and then I decided to try Curtis," Daniel said.

After just 5 years of lessons, both boys auditioned and got accepted.

The guys do homeschooling long-distance from California for math, English, and science. They have 2-hour lessons plus 4-6 hours of practice a day.

"It's really intense training, but it's not harsh; it's very nice and it really helps me improve a lot," Daniel said.

Dr. David Ludwig has seen plenty of talent, but admits these two are exceptional.

"I think the great thing about students with this kind of creativity is that they can do, basically, anything they want," Dr. Ludwig said.

Having fun is also an important part of learning even for musical geniuses.

At times, Andrew and Daniel speed up to trip each other up!

Is there any sibling rivalry?

"I could use a push to make sure I cannot slack off, because my brother is always there behind me," Andrew said.

The boys have big dreams - Daniel to play with the Philadelphia orchestra and Andrew to conduct it. If recent history is any guide, you could very well see them soon at the Kimmel Center.

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