Blind Electronic Keyboard Player Wows Audience

Original music sung and played by the composer, Yuan Yueyue, was received with enthusiasm by a packed audience at the Chengdu Art Center that was touched by the artist's heartfelt renditions of his own work.

Totally blind since 1988, Yuan three years ago achieved the highest level in China's national piano proficiency test following his education at the Department of Piano at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music. He does much of his composing on the computer.

Before his performance, Yuan gave an interview on events that led to his current activities as performer and as head of the Yuan Yueyue Audio Workshop where he is writer, composer and recording artist.

A congenital birth defect left Yuan with minimal eyesight when he was born. After he lost his eyesight entirely in 1988, his parents sent him to the School for the Handicapped of Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, where his musical talents were discovered. In 1994 a music teacher at the school recommended him to Zheng Aifei, professor of the Department of Piano of the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, to receive regular and systematic training.

Yuan explained that Professor Zheng adopted a special way called "hands touching" to teach him since Yuan could not read musical scores but could only listen. Professor Zheng would play a song only two or three times before Yuan knew it by heart.

In 1997 Yuan started to write music using a computer. He took only three days to prepare but still won the level-10 diploma for piano performance, the highest level in the country's musical circles during the 1998 national piano proficiency test.

Yuan Yueyue shared an anecdote about his appearance several years ago on Sichuan TV to help explain his spirit and confidence in his abilities and in life.

The staff of the Sichuan TV program "Have Your Mind Challenged" interviewed him at his home, and 100 candles were lit. Without thinking, Yuan Yueyue said: "So bright!"

"How do you know it's bright?" asked one of the staff.

"I can see with my heart," Yuan said.

(成都商报 [Chengdu Commercial News], December 15, 2001 translated by Li Jingrong for

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