One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy to play in Malta

Nicholas McCarthy, the one-handed pianist, is set to play in Malta once again tomorrow for the Office of the Prime Minister.

Nicholas McCarthy
Nicholas McCarthy

One handed Nicholas McCarthy was refused an audition at a school for young pianists and told he would never manage to succeed.

Not giving up, McCarthy went on to graduate from the Royal College of Music and will be performing tomorrow at 8pm at the offices of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi  in Malta at a sold out recital.

This will be followed by his first headlining evening concert at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, UK.

This will be McCarthy’s second performance in Malta after performing at ‘Libretti in the Silent City’ held at the Vilhena Palace Courtyard in Mdina almost exactly a year before on 24 August 2011.

The head teacher of the school for young pianists told him as a young boy that having one hand would always hold him back and attempting to play would waste his time, as well as those trying to teach him.

Determined to prove his critics wrong, McCarthy succeeded to become the first one-handed pianist on record to graduate from the Royal College of Music.

Admitting to be a stubborn character, the 23-year-old knew that being born without his right hand would be an uphill struggle and he taught himself how to play on an electric keyboard before starting piano lessons at the age of 14.

McCarthy had overcame his challenges developing the stamina to present a 50-minute recital with one arm and also played to paralympic athletes in July, welcoming them to London, as part of Britain’s first disabled orchestra.

The young man explained that all music is written for the left hand alone and is done cleverly but requires very quick and accurate timing with pedals to sustain the bass notes while playing the high notes.

Pieces for just the left hand have been written by composers including Ravel, Prokofiev and Barok.

McCarthy said he was happy to surprise people with his ability and was grateful to his parents for instilling in him a sense of belief and self-determination to overcome obstacles throughout his upbringing, including bike-riding.