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Affectionate and lively approach to music

She's been a teacher for nine years, a student for 11 years and an award-winning performer through all of it. She's 15.

She's been a teacher for nine years, a student for 11 years and an award-winning performer through all of it.

She's 15.

Her name is Indra Egan and she is the special guest soloist who will perform Schumann's Piano Concerto during Remembering the Classics presented by the Prince George Symphony Orchestra 7:30 Saturday night at Vanier Hall.

"Music wasn't something I ever thought about going without," said Egan. "It was as much a part of my life as school - or breathing. It's not something I ever thought about not doing. It's really important to me."

Egan also plays violin and is in the distance education program in her school district. She lives in Houston, B.C. and has received five medals from the Royal Conservatory of Music for the highest practical exam marks in British Columbia. In 2005, she won the Pacific Northwest Music Festival's scholarship competition for junior piano, and also the Wallace Leung Memorial Young Musician's Concerto competition in Prince George. In 2006, she performed a piano concerto as a guest soloist with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. In 2007, she won the Junior Canadian Piano competition at the B.C. Performing Arts Festival. In 2009, she was voted Young Citizen of the Year in Houston for those under 30 years of age.

Since Egan began taking lessons she has always had to travel to get to her teachers. First it was Smithers and now she comes to Prince George to be instructed in piano by Lori Elder and violin by Jose Delgado of the Conservatory of Music.

"I love music in general, so I love to play both instruments - piano and violin - and I focused more on the piano but also took the Royal Conservatory of Music exams for the violin as well," Egan said, who began reading novels at six years old.

"I can't remember life without music and it will always be an integral part of me," Egan said. "For all I know I'll end up changing my mind a couple of times in my life but at this point I can't tell whether or not I will be pursuing a career in music."

Her grandfather was a nationally-known violin player in his home country of Iran but neither of her parents are musically inclined.

"It might have been because of my parents' lack of musical experience that they wanted me to go into music so badly," said Egan. "My dad thought this would be a really great experience and he was my parent coach and actually won the parent coach of the year award in the music studio in Smithers for about four years in a row. When you're four years old you can't just sit down at a piano and learn these things and learn all the concepts alone. It's virtually impossible."

Right now Egan has 14 students, who range in age from five years to adult, that she teaches at her Pleasant Valley music studio.

"When I was younger some adults would think it was strange to be taught by an 11 or 12 year old but I did my best to earn the respect of all my students in order to give them enough musical understanding to trust me and believe in me," Egan explained. "I think I've done that and I had a mother tell me once that her daughters adored me and to hear things like that is really incredible. Teaching music is one of the most interesting experiences I've had in music. You really learn a lot about music when you're teaching it."

During the performance with the orchestra, Egan, who said she absolutely loves this concerto, will play the piece as instructed on the sheet music - in a lively manner and with affection.

"There is no better way to describe how I play that piece," she added. "This concerto touches me very deeply. It's one of the most beautiful pieces that I have ever played and it has so many different colours to it. It goes from dramatic to calm, sweet and lyrical to big and exciting."

Tickets are at Studio 2880 or at the door. Adults $29, seniors $25, under 25 $15. For more information visit