A TALENTED pianist from Epsom born with only one hand has made history as the only one-handed pianist ever known to graduate from the Royal College of Music.
Nicholas McCarthy's career has been going from strength to strength and he is now performing for TV audiences and inspiring the likes of international star, Kelly Clarkson, who was in tears after hearing him perform.
Following his graduation in July, the 23-year-old has now accepted a Masters of Performance Postgraduate programme in 2013 at the Royal College of Music in London and explained that as soon as he first started playing, he knew it was what he wanted to do.
He said: "I started learning really late, at the age of 14. I just fell in love with the instrument and the music. I started to play and realised it came quite naturally to me. It's an amazing feeling."
Nicholas, who was born without his right hand, has won a number of awards and is having a documentary made about him and his work.
A proud member of the British Paraorchestra, Nicholas said: "The British Paraorchestra is very special, it shows the determination of human beings, I get very excited about it. It's a way to celebrate disabled musicians and a platform to show the world that disabled music can work to a very high standard.
"How lucky am I to be doing this? Very few people in the world get to do what they want to do. I feel very lucky. I've been very fortunate with my career so far.
"I am hoping that things will continues onto bigger and better things. So far I am happy to let things roll the way they are going, I've got some exciting concerts coming up."
During an appearance on BBC's The One Show, Nicholas performed in front of Kelly Clarkson and she was so overwhelmed with his performance that she was in tears.
He said: "She was on at the same time and everyone gathered round to watch me play at the end. As the credits were rolling I looked up and she was crying. I was really touched, she is such a huge star. She said she thought I was amazing and couldn't believe I was playing with just one hand, she said I was inspirational."
Nicholas' dad, Raymond McCarthy, said that he and his mother are very proud of what their son has achieved and that he has converted them into liking classical music.
He said: "I'm very proud of my son. He's a very confident and outgoing and very personable. He's very popular and is the kind of guy that when he walks into the room, people want to talk to him.
"He has the determination to always see things through and our only concern was whether he could make a career out of it and he has, he enjoys it and loves it.
"I'm not personally into classical music but once you start to listen to it you realise that you know the songs already. He has introduced me and his mum to a world we didn't even know existed. He's incredible.
"He's overcome all odds. It is highly difficult to play with one hand and when Nicholas plays, when you're listening to it, you would not know that it was played with just one hand."
Nicholas explained that although the odds were against him, he overcame them with help from his family and determination to do what he wanted.
He said: "Missing my right hand has made me more determined. I'm quite a determined person and with determination you can do anything. The college is a very supportive place with the Albert Hall nearby, it's inspirational. It was a fantastic time."
"I want to inspire people to believe in themselves and to be able to do and learn something and hope they look at me and think 'look what he achieved with just one hand'."
He added: "It has been an uphill struggle. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, it's not the most obvious career choice for someone with only one hand. I was aware of this but I was determined”
Article from Angela Brooks at getsurrey
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