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Rion Shirayanagi, 13, has won first prize at the prestigious PIARA National Piano Competition in Japan. A extremely talented young pianist, he also won the players Grand Prix and was awarded his esteemed prize by the Mayor of Shizuoka-ken.

PIARA is a highly respected and renowned piano manufacturing company which also provides the official piano grade system in Japan; the Association of Japan Certified Piano Grades. They promote their contest on a national scale supporting the development of young Japanese piano students giving them the opportunity to perform through a series of qualifying district tournaments. The national final was held on 14 July in Hamamatsu; the city of music, where Rion performed on a Steinway piano in a full sized concert hall.

Rion joined the Royal Hospital School in January 2012 from the Shizuoka region of Japan. He started playing the piano at the age of just 3 with the encouragement of his mother who herself is a music graduate. Rion has his own grand piano at home and since the age of 5 he has been having lessons with Mrs Akiko Kodaka, a professor at the prestigious Tokyo University of Arts or Geidai. In 2009, Rion won his first national accolade at the Chopin Asia Competition and in 2011 he won a prize at the PIARA National Piano competition.

Director of Music, Peter Crompton said, “Rion’s musical talent was unknown to us when he joined the School but we soon discovered his amazing ability. He is now a music scholar and a popular pupil throughout the School. He deserves this accolade and I am absolutely sure that he will go onto achieve many more great things.”

The Royal Hospital School is a coeducational Independent boarding and day school for 11 to 18 year olds set in 200 acres of Suffolk Countryside. http://www.royalhospitalschool.org/