Volume 95, Issue 45

Wednesday, November 21, 2001
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Can-Lit greatness discovered in an Ash Garden

Nothing beats a 15-year-old pianist

Suicide Machines far from dead

Cranberries rule Cherry in the fruit bowl

Nothing beats a 15-year-old pianist

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

Perhaps everyone is gifted in some way.

For some, being gifted is a curse, for others, an open door. For Simon Bodlack, his gift is his hands and all of his doors are open.

Some 15-year-olds can barely summon the courage to talk to girls, let alone sit onstage in front of thousands and render them speechless with prodigious piano playing.

A grade 11 student from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Bodlack manages to balance the tribulations of adolescence with three hours of piano practice a day.

But practice obviously makes perfect for the boy coined a "Piano Virtuoso."

"To balance homework and practicing is hard," he admits. "I always allot myself quite a bit of time to hang out and be normal. I try and keep well-rounded."

Bodlack can't help but let his talent overwhelm his resumé. He may lack the requisite McDonald's experience of his peers, but he has a few other grand achievements to brag about.

Bodlack has given concerts at the Cairo Opera House in Egypt and is a consistent recipient of First Class Honours with Distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

But for all of Bodlack's bragging rights, he is modest and sees his talent as natural. "My whole family is musical," he says. "I really enjoy performing and I like music. I have fun with it and I like learning stuff."

Despite his young age, Bodlack has a mature vision of what he wants to do with his life.

"I'd like to go to Juliard, get my doctorate in music and do concerts – maybe even teach at a university or something," he says.

While he waits for his future to unfold, Bodlack allows the music to direct his life.

"[Becoming a pianist] is kind of like decided for me. I did it on my own, but as things keep rolling out, it's just pushing me that way. Everyone is really supportive," he notes.

Under the direction of Vancouverite Donna Fishwick and Sasha Starcevic, a Briton, Bodlack prepares for performances constantly.

"About the day I'm going to perform, I get nervous and I anticipate it, but when it happens I'm not nervous. [To prepare] I try and stay away from movies or books, I don't want things like that popping into my head. I just relax and take it easy," he says.

Bodlack plays as part of Orchestra London's Masterworks concert Fireworks and Heroism tonight and tomorrow night at Centennial Hall. It begins at 8 p.m. and tickets range from $21-$36.

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