MISTER Rogers inspired Pallavi Mahidhara.

He would open his American children’s television series – Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood – by singing a song and playing the piano.

At age two-and-a-half, Pallavi was enthralled by the host, whose real name was Fred Rogers.

“Watching him seemed to spark an interest in me. So when I was three my parents took me to a local music school.

“It was there that I began to learn the piano and have since never looked back,” reminisced Pallavi.

Last week the classical pianist performed twice with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tomorrow (Thursday) the 24-year-old America born pianist will perform at the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s final concert of its Summer Season at the Durban City Hall.

She will thereafter exhibit her talent in other parts of the country.

“I am absolutely thrilled to return to Durban to perform with the KZNPO.

“I immensely enjoyed debuting with them in 2009 and am looking forward to tomorrow.

“I am also excited about heading for the beach,” said Pallavi.

The finale will feature three major contributions from Russian composers under the baton of guest conductor Daniel Boico.

Before returning to her home in Madrid, Spain, on April 9, Pallavi will bid farewell to her India-born parents who are temporarily based in Johannesburg.

Her dad, Ramamohan, is employed with the World Bank Group and has been living in the city with Pallavi’s mom Deepa for almost five years. Once she returns to her home in Spain she will continue to further her studies at the Queen Rania Sophia Academy with renowned Russian pianist Dmitri Bashkirov.