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Stowmarket piano prodigy Elaine Li, aged eight, passes top piano exam and is set to perform at Ipswich event





An eight-year-old piano star is one of the youngest people in the world to pass her Grade 8 exams – the highest practical music exam available in the UK.

Elaine Li, of Stowmarket, began playing the instrument aged five after showing a natural ability to play simple tunes.

She has now gone on to successfully audition for the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama Junior Department and will be performing at an Ipswich Chinese New Year celebration event in March.

Elaine Li, 8, from Stowmarket, will perform at the annual Chinese New Year celebration event in Ipswich. Picture: Suffolk Chinese Family Welfare Association
Elaine Li, 8, from Stowmarket, will perform at the annual Chinese New Year celebration event in Ipswich. Picture: Suffolk Chinese Family Welfare Association

Mum Michelle Zhang, 36, said: “We are so proud of Elaine and everything she has achieved.

“She just loves to play and that’s all that matters to us. She’s our little performer.

“We hope her story can inspire other children to explore the beauty of classical music.”

Elaine first began having lessons with a piano teacher in the Suffolk town however due to the pandemic she was unable to continue in-person lessons.

Luckily, she was able to continue learning through online lessons with a teacher in China, who she has been studying with ever since.

Elaine and her younger brother both go to Abbot’s Hall Community Primary School and she has competed in competitions around the country – even claiming first prize at the London Youth Piano Competition in 2021.

Elaine has been playing piano since the age of five. Picture: Submitted
Elaine has been playing piano since the age of five. Picture: Submitted

Her next performance will be at the Year of the Dragon Show on March 30, at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.

The annual Chinese New Year celebration event is presented by Suffolk Chinese Family Welfare Association and includes a line-up of traditional entertainment as well as dancing, singing and musical performances.

Elaine performed Mozart's Piano Sonata No 12 in F major at last year’s show and she is looking forward to hitting the stage again as part of the celebration.