Keol Woo

Amazing Blind Piano Star

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

A blind, teenage pianist’s performance at the New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music is being called “amazing” by festival organizers.

Keol Woo of Fredericton was named the Star of the Festival.

Keol has been blind since birth and learns every classical piece without being able to read the music.

“I just listen to it, like there’s a program that plays a note and I just memorize it,” said the 15-year-old who studies at Leo Hayes High School.

“If it’s easier, I just do it on YouTube.”

Keol won four awards at the provincial music festival, including the prestigious Founders’ Trophy. He also won almost $3,000 in cash awards.

Despite the allocades, father Augustus Woo’s proudest moment came after the competition when Keol said he wanted to buy an iPod with some of his winnings and refused his offer to buy it for him.

“And he said, ‘No, I don’t want to use your money, I want to use my money,'” said Augustus. “Why is that? He said, ‘I feel guilty when I use your money.’

“I’m so proud of that, not the prize,” he said with a laugh. “Yes, he’s trying to be quite independent.”

Keol plans to continue studying music in university in a few years time.

“I just want to play piano as much as I can, and I like to compose,” he said. “I don’t really do it yet, but I want to.

“It’ll be good. I try to think about music, you know, for movie backgrounds.”

Keol is now planning to pick up a new instrument. He wants to learn guitar.


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