A young pianist has made an astonishing feat and passed her grade 8 piano exam at the age of eight.

The young Elaine Li, who lives in Stowmarket and attends Abbot’s Hall Community Primary School, will be performing at a show at Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre in March.

The young pianist began learning the instrument at the age of five, when she demonstrated a “natural ability”, according to her mother, Michelle Zhang.

She had a few in-person lessons before the pandemic hit, and her parents found online lessons with a tutor in China.

Within her first year of playing, she achieved ABRSM grade 3, followed by grade 5, and in December took and passed her grade 8 with Merit, which took her just three-and-a-half years to achieve.

Stowmarket Mercury: Eight-year-old Elaine LiEight-year-old Elaine Li (Image: Suffolk Chinese Family Welfare Association)

Her performances include London Youth Piano competition 2021 online, in which she was awarded grade 3 first prize, the Bromley Music Festival 2022, which she achieved grade 5 third place, and the Sutton Music Festival 2022, in which she came second.

She practices for one to two hours every day and has successfully auditioned for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Junior Department.

Along with the piano, she is also learning the violin, of which she has not taken any exams yet but is working around grade 5.

Michelle said: "Her teacher said she has talent but she likes it as well, which is the important thing.

"I am proud of her and excited to see her perform at the Wolsey.

"Both my husband and I are not musical, so I am proud of her that she picked it up all by herself."

Olivia Boland, chairman of the Suffolk Chinese Family Welfare Association, which presents the annual celebration at the New Wolsey Theatre, added: “The Chinese community here in Suffolk feels a sense of pride that some of our youngest members are so talented.”

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Elaine will perform at the annual Chinese New Year celebration event at the theatre on Saturday, March 30.

The young pianist performed at last year’s event in February 2023, when she was then a grade 5 pianist at the age of seven.