Marko Pejanovic tickles the ivory keys of his piano in his family’s home in Bloomingdale, practicing for his up coming free concert in Kitchener next week.
“We always have music in the house,” said Bo Pejanovic, Marko’s mother.
According to Marko, he practices anywhere between one and two hours a day at home.
Born in Vancouver, Marko moved to Serbia with his family when he was five.
“It was in Serbia where I first became interested in playing the piano,” he said.
One day at the age of eight Marko heard a friend’s sister playing the piano and was instantly drawn to the instrument. Marko approached his parents about the possibility of taking lessons.
“We were surprised that he had any interest in music,” said Bo. “No one in the family plays an instrument. We always listen to music, but no one was ever involved in music before.”
Marko’s parents were amazed when he took an entry test at the Stevan Mokanjac School of Music in Serbia and learned that he had more than just a passing interest in the art.
“He scored 100 points in that audition,” said Bo. “We were told he had very good hearing, he had an ear for music.”
At the age of eight, Marko was considered a late bloomer. Most of his classmates were five or six years old, but it did not take Marko very long to make up for lost time.
“Within six months of his acceptance to the school his instructors told us they thought he was ready for competition,” said Bo.
And ready Marko was.
He received a score of 95 points and a first-place listing at his first competition and has never looked back. Over the years Marko won numerous competitions and was honoured three times with marks of distinction in Serbia before his family moved back to Canada in 2010.
Joining the Young Artist Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto last summer at the age of 11, Marko was thrilled to be a part of a nurturing environment for young classical musicians and enjoys sharing his dedication of music with like minded people.
Travelling to Toronto twice a week for theory and private lessons has paid off for Marko who recently placed first at the Kiwanis Music festival, playing at a Grade 10 level, and has been accepted into an international competition for young pianists to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 2.
Marko has decided to hold a free concert in Kitchener where donations can be given to help him and his mother with expenses for the Russian competition.
“It is very expensive to cover all the tuition, tests and travel,” said Bo. “We have looked for sponsors and have contacted the Canada Arts Council, but they only offer grants to professional artists. There is nothing to help kids. That is why we are having the concert. So people can hear him play and see his talent.”
When asked if he gets nervous playing in front of audiences, Marko just smiles.
“I just think about the music. That is all that is in my mind, I don’t think about the audience,” said Marko.
Marko will be performing at the Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener on May 13 at 7.30 p.m. Any donations will be welcomed by the family.