The story appears on

Page A4

August 13, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Armless pianist wows 'Talent' fans

LIU Wei doesn't let people tell him he can't do things like others just because he doesn't have any arms.

The 23-year-old pianist has defied the odds and the naysayers ever since he was 10 years old, when an accident occurred.

Liu was playing hide-and-seek with friends when he was electrocuted after touching a high-voltage wire. He lost both arms.

Fast forward 13 years later and the Beijing native stepped onto a stage at Shanghai Grand Theater to perform on the television show "China's Got Talent" in front of a national audience. He played, with his toes, Richard Clayderman's famous piece "Mariage D'amour."

Liu shocked hundreds of thousands of people across the country with his flawless performance.

Liu, who sounds like a philosopher at times, said:

"For people like me, there were only two options. One was to abandon all dreams, which would lead to a quick, hopeless death; the other was to struggle without arms to live an outstanding life."

The pianist, sporting a confident smile, looked like a cartoon image on the stage as he was so thin.

He said he feels no anger because of what happened all those years ago, as it was just "destiny" that arranged and decided his life.

"I don't know why people always believe my life is so painful because I don't have arms," Liu said. "I am a happy man living a colorful life, just like other young people."

He told Shanghai Daily that when the accident occurred, he initially cried hard and tried a million times to "wake up from the nightmare."

But gradually he realized it was not a dream and he tired of crying. His attitude changed and he asked himself: "My arms are gone, so what?"

He learned to use his feet to do everything that a normal kid could do, from putting on his clothes, to playing soccer. He even became one of the best players on his high school soccer team.

"We made it to the final of a high school tournament, but my team didn't allow me to play as our opponents were nicknamed the 'Barbarians,'" Liu said.

"They all feared that I would be killed because I can't fight back with my fists."

At the age of 18, Liu started to make a detailed plan for his life, and turned to his childhood dream of becoming a musician.

He learnt music theory for one year and a teacher suggested he try the piano. The teacher later quit as he believed it was impossible for anyone to play with his toes.

Liu said he understands his tutor's position because when he played for the first time, he felt the melody was limited by the length of his toes.

He said even now he can't play some wonderful pieces as he is not able to press keys across octaves.

"Some friends suggested I stop as they feared my efforts would be in vain," Liu said. "But I didn't care if I would become a master as it was only a hobby and I enjoyed playing with my toes."

He then learned to play by himself, not letting anyone know, not even his parents.

After training day and night, he created his own style of toeing. He performed right in front of his parents and friends and told them that he picked up the skill "accidentally."

Back to the stage at Shanghai Grand Theater, Liu pressed the keys with his toes as nimbly as a pianist with fingers.

From beginning to end, he didn't make a mistake. When he finished, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

He advanced into the next round of the competition.

Liu said he will return to Shanghai today for another show on Sunday.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend