Enjoying the rewards of hard work

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TO Nicholas McCarthy

AN anonymous quote I once read has stuck with me ever since: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” I find this interesting as more and more people are overcoming adversity, aiming to be the best they can be, no matter what obstacles they may face.

British pianist Nicholas McCarthy (pictured) is an example of these remarkable people who inspire us to go after our dreams, sharing the message that anything is possible. Born without a right hand, McCarthy is now one of the accomplished pianists of our time. And for the first time in South Africa, he is sure to wow audiences when he tours Cape Town, Durban and Joburg.

Tonight caught up with the talented 23-year-old. “I have never been to South Africa, but I have always wanted to come, so it’s so wonderful. I’ll be able to see the country as well as perform here. I’m very excited about getting to see all the main cities as I’ve heard so many great things about the country and its people.”

It all started at the age of 14. He says: “I started at a late age when I saw my friend who was an accomplished pianist playing a Beethoven piano sonata. I absolutely fell in love with the piano, the music and just everything about it. It was then that I decided I wanted to be a pianist. I could never have imagined that I’d be a pianist, let alone be where I am today in regards to my career, so I’m always so grateful for what I do and the opportunities that come my way.”

With so many amazing highlights in his life, the award-winning soloist played at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics alongside Paraorchestra and Cold Play. Shedding light on his experience at this worldwide event, he said: “I was delighted when asked to perform at the Paralympics. If someone had said to me when I was 14 that I’d be performing centre stage at the Paralympics, I would have never believed them. The overall experience was surreal and exciting, and I feel privileged that I’m one of the few classical pianists to have performed to half-a-billion people worldwide.”

For this classical genius, he believes that with determination, focus and positivity, anyone is able to achieve their goals.

“Music itself motivates me on a daily basis, but I always think to myself, ‘those who work hard will get rewarded’, practising six hours a day can be difficult, but by thinking of that quote it seems to get me through,” he adds.

• Catch Nicholas McCarthy at the Cape Town Convention Centre on Saturday, February 9, at Durban City Hall, Wednesday, February 13, and at the Linder Auditorium in Joburg on Friday, February 15. Book at Computicket.

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