A MUSICAL maestro who taught himself to play the piano by watching YouTube videos has been named as one of Inverclyde's top young musicians.

Piano prodigy Chol Riak, 17, blew Inverclyde Music Festival adjudicators away with a stunning and emotional performance of Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu during the fortnight-long gala.

His outstanding efforts earned him a chance to attend the festival’s final concert, where he was awarded the George Parkhill Prize for Piano, which is given to the best pianist in the competition.

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The talented Notre Dame High School pupil is able to play some of the most complicated piano pieces ever written, despite only learning to read sheet music recently.

Greenock Telegraph: Piano prodigy Chol Riak who learned how to play the instrument using YouTube.

Chol said: “I started playing like four years ago, at the time I didn’t know how to play any piano.

“Mary had a little lamb was the first song I learned.

“I learned from watching YouTube videos, there was no reason in particular why I started, it was just something to do.

“It’s hard to explain how I do it, I just listen to the music and try to copy what I see in the video.

“I’m still using the YouTube videos now, but I’m learning how to read music as well so I can play in church and places like that.

“Performing in the festival was fun, I competed last year too.

“I didn’t think I was going to win, everyone else was good but then I played and they seemed to think I was alright at piano.

“It’s a good feeling to have won that award, it’s like all the sweat I put in has come to something.”

Chol’s fantastic piano playing was also hailed by Inverclyde Music Festival’s president, Isabel Lind, during her closing speech.

She paid tribute to recently passed committee member Lorna Morrison, who donated Chol her piano and helped further nurture his talent.

Greg McGonigal, who is principal teacher of music at Notre Dame, told the Telegraph that Chol’s talent had blown him away since he started at the school.

He said: “Since I started the job here two years ago Chol has always been a complete inspiration every time he sits down at the piano.

“I’ve never known someone to emote and show so much feeling in the way that he plays and captures an audience.

“The festival commented on that last year and said that it was so outstanding that they couldn’t believe he hadn’t even been able to read music.

“He went to play in the grade seven/eight class at the festival and he played Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu, which is probably more difficult than grade eight.

“It’s a very complex piece and he’s just learned it using his ear.

“The piece is so complicated I’m just amazed that he’s been able to do it, he has such a raw talent for piano.