Concert pianist and founder of Keys of Change Panos Karan (PIERCE ’00), is once again making the news, this time bringing young Fukushima musicians – survivors of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear accident – to perform at the Southbank Centre in London on April 2nd.

The 33 young Fukishima orchestral musicians will be performing at the Southbank Center’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on April 2nd, alongside the Orpheus Sinfonia.

Karan, who says he is a “proud ACG alumnus,” has been on four visits to the Fukushima area since 2011 and has worked with students in several schools, helping them develop their musical skills and performing with them in local concerts. He says he was inspired by the dedication, enthusiasm and high musical standard of the students.

“Some of these students know more about the messages of music than professional musicians,” says Karan. “They have the courage to play in concert what they learned in a rehearsal just an hour earlier…They try as hard as they can to speak out their emotions with music, to say what words could never say.”

Born in Crete in 1982, Karan grew up in Athens, where he started playing the piano at the age seven and graduated from PIERCE College in 2000. He received his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music under the guidance of Sulamita Aronovsky, and made his professional debut at the Southbank Centre, London, at age 19. In 2004, he was a laureate at the “Jose Iturbi” International Piano Competition in Valencia, Spain, after appearing in the final round with the Valencia Symphony Orchestra.

In December 2009 Panos Karan recorded his debut album with Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Orion Symphony Orchestra.

He established Keys of Change, a UK registered charity, in 2011 with the aim of bringing classical music to people around the world who are living in “extraordinary circumstances in life,” with the motto “Can music change the world? We believe it can.” Panos has already completed projects for Keys of Change in the Amazon River, Northeastern Japan, Uganda, India and Sierra Leone.

He also keeps a busy performing schedule in Europe and the rest of the world. Past appearances include the Southbank Centre in London, the St. Petersburg Hermitage Theatre, the Athens Megaron Recital Hall, the Vienna Konzerthous, Tokyo Oji Hall, as well as three solo recitals at Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall). In 2007, Karan presented the complete cycle of the Beethoven Concertos with the St. John’s Festival Orchestra in the UK.

The Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta in collaboration with the Orpheus Sinfonia will be performing a new work by British composer Ronald Corp OBE specially composed for the Japanese orchestra, as well as other works.

Concert details: Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wednesday April 2nd, 2014, at 7.30pm. Tickets (£20, £10, £5) available from the SouthBank Centre box office: +0044 844 847 9910 or online at www.southbankcentre.co.uk

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