Piano passion starts young

When he was just 13, Henry Kramer knew that he wanted to play piano professionally.

As is not uncommon, his mother encouraged him to start piano lessons as a child; he didn’t want to. That soon changed.

He spent a lot of time convincing his piano teacher that this wasn’t just a phase. He practiced some 6-8 hours a day, and most other things in his life took a backseat.

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His piano teacher at the time, Portland resident Elizabeth Manduca, introduced him to the national student music scene. It was as a spectator, at this introductory national competition in Minneapolis, Minn., that the realization materialized, said Kramer.

Manduca said Kramer had an innate natural talent and at the time was better than any other players in the area. She wanted to broaden his perspective, and help him realize the amount of work involved in becoming great.

“He needed to see the big picture,” she said. “He needed to get out and see what really terrific players were like.”

Kramer had been unaware until then that students his age studied classical music seriously. “I was totally amazed,� he said. It was then he decided to pursue piano as a career.

But Manduca said there were struggles along the way. Though Manduca knew Kramer was a capable, passionate and inspired student, she said he had his own reservations about making a career out of music. Kramer was unaware of the discipline and commitment required for the profession.

“He was a bit overwhelmed by the work it took,” she said.

His reservations were typical to anybody considering a music career, she said. “Making a career in music, is very difficult and there are a lot of unanswered questions all the way through,” she said. But she said, “he certainly stepped up to the plate.”

He now attends one of the most prestigious music schools in the country: Juilliard in New York City.

Read the full article: A passion for piano