The city of Sammamish is now home to the 2011 grand prize winner of a prestigious regional music competition for young people.
Pianist Nathan Lee, 9, has won first place in KING FM's Ten Grands Young Artist music competition, his father and a competition spokeswoman said Thursday.
Lee will receive a $1,000 scholarship from KING FM (98.1) and will play solo on stage during an April 1 concert at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
Bryan Lowe, KING FM programming director, explained in a statement that he was impressed with the entries.
"The caliber of performances was truly incredible. As I listened I had to constantly remind myself that these performers were kids! It’s exciting to see so many inspired and talented young musicians," he said.
"Nathan Lee, our Grand Prize-winner is a great example. His feet can barely reach the pedals on the piano, yet his playing was beautiful."
Lee's father, Han Lee, noted that the other musicians in the competition bring strong skills to the table.
"There were many fabulous and talented young musicians competing for the Grand Prize, so we are extremely pleased that Nathan was selected as the Grand Prize winner," he wrote in an email.
"Nathan practices diligently every day, and it's great that he is getting recognized for his hard work. We are very proud of Nathan."
Lee, who is in the third grade, attends .
Debbie Gagnon, who his first-grade teacher, nominated him in February for the weekly Sammamish Patch feature
"Nathan was a self-manager from the beginning. He was a great listener and very attentive each day. Throughout it all, his smile shined brightly. Though quiet, his sunny personality was always reflected in that smile. I can imagine that the traits listed above would really help a person develop into a wonderful musician.
You would have to manage yourself and be dedicated to the hours of practice. When watching great pianists, you see their passion for their craft. Nathan’s smile reflects his love for the music he shares with others."
In addition to Lee, there were other finalists from Sammamish. They are: Karl Ronneburg, 16, Robert Yan, 10, Carly Ann Worden, 18 and Jay Grinols, 12.
The finalists have been invited to perform on April 1 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Their performance is scheduled to start at 6 pm, before the main Ten Grands concert, which is slated to begin at 7 pm.
More than 100 entries were received in this year's competition.
The public can purchase tickets to the Ten Grands concert at the Benaroya Hall ticket office or by calling 206-215-4747. Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University St.
Editor's note: Ten Grands organizers are expected to issue a statement about the competition. Once that information has been received, this article will be updated.