Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Elton Sponsors Teen Pianist
But she does have a choice of instruments as there are four different pianos in the house that she shares with her six music-loving brothers and sisters.
The teenager, who has qualified for the piano finals of the BBC Musician of the Year competition, takes the long hours of practice in her stride.
"I do about three hours in a block and then have a break, but mostly I enjoy it - it's what I want to do," she said.
The young pianist has already won a handful of musical honours, including the highest marks in the UK for her piano exams, and has performed in Los Angeles with pop star Sir Elton John.
Sir Elton has praised her dedication and is now paying her £9,000-a-year tuition at the Royal Academy of Music in London as part of his support for talented young musicians.
A student at Trinity School in Aspley, she said playing with the pop superstar was nerve-wracking but exciting at the same time.
"He heard me play (at the Royal Academy) and he said he would like to sponsor me.
"He was real friendly and funny - he enjoyed my piano playing."
In a letter to her, Sir Elton wrote: "I am so proud you are going to be an Elton John Scholar at the academy. You have worked so very hard to achieve your goals.
"Take a bow and give yourself a big round of applause."
Isata started playing the piano at age six and now her music practice and school work dominate her life.
She even spends her Saturdays travelling to London on the train with four of her brothers and sisters to study at the Royal Academy and get lessons from her Chinese-born tutor Patsy Toh.
"I also played the violin but I switched to the viola and now I only play that as part of the string quartet with my siblings, but not as a soloist."
Her focus is clearly on classical music - Chopin, Scarlatti and Rachmaninoff are among her favourites - and even though she likes to listen to pop singers like Beyonce, she doesn't really take time to play any pop songs.
"I enjoy listening to pop music but I don't play it. I am not thinking of being a pop musician but it was an amazing experience being on stage with Elton."
- BBC News
at 3:44 PM