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9-year-old prodigy pianist to perform with former K-W Symphony musicians

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A young prodigy pianist is set to perform alongside former members of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, as part of a benefit concert.

The concert will be Saturday at the St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Kitchener.

Murasaki Matsutani, 9, is an avid fan of the symphony. She loved attending the concerts and reached out to the players association to put on a benefit concert.

"I feel very excited and good, but I don't feel too nervous," Matsutani said.

Matsutani was born in Tokyo, Japan. She moved to Waterloo with her family at the age of two. Matsutani started playing piano at the age of five and has won numerous local and international awards.

Her experience locally and internationally has made her quite comfortable performing in front of big crowds.

"I've played in front of people a lot of times, so I think I'm used to it," Matsutani said.

Matsutani practices for three hours a day. She not only wants to become a professional pianist but also a composer and conductor in the future.

"I really like all of those three things," Matsutani said.

Musicians jumped at the opportunity to perform with Matsutani. The players association decided young brilliance would be the theme for the concert, which will feature music composed by child prodigies. It will be the first time musicians from the former symphony will be back together for a full orchestra concert.

"Really excited. I can't wait to get back together with the whole group," Lori Gemmell, Harpist and member of the KWS Players Association said.

Former symphony music director Andrei Feher is leading the show. He said since last year, he has reflected on the talent available in the area and feels the culture of classical music is needed in the community.

“We don’t have to envy nobody around the world, because there is something special we can say with this incredible bunch of musicians,” Feher said.

Things are looking up for the symphony. Despite announcing bankruptcy in 2023, the players association has learned there’s an option to file a proposal to satisfy creditors and keep the Kitchene-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra Association intact. If approved, it would allow the association to keep the name, charitable status and government granting opportunities.

"If creditors are satisfied, then the bankruptcy doesn't go forward. So we've been working really hard with a law firm, with the bankruptcy trustee, with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Foundation and our union to find a path forward," Katherine Robertson, Second horn and member of the KWS Players Association said.

In order to file a proposal the association needs a Board of Directors and is in the process of taking nominations.

"So once a proposal goes to the creditors, there'd be a big meeting and they would vote. If they're satisfied, then it passes and then it goes to court," Robertson said.

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