Palmers Green piano prodigy hits all the right notes

Thirteen-year-old Zev Sebastian recently wowed audience at solo recital in central London, writes James Cracknell

Zev Sebastian (credit Henry Jacobs)
Zev Sebastian performing at 1901 Arts Club (credit Henry Jacobs)

A young piano prodigy from Palmers Green is making a name for himself after performing at a prestigious music club.

Zev Sebastian, aged 13, performed his first headline solo recital last month at 1901 Arts Club in Waterloo, after building up a large following via social media.

Proud mum Esther Sebastian said Zev started playing when he was just six years old. She told the Dispatch: “He demanded piano lessons when he was six but I didn’t take it seriously at first – we only bought him a cheap keyboard.

“He has always been obsessed. He practises several hours per day and he is very dedicated. I do have an appreciation for classical music but I can’t claim any credit – I don’t play piano or any instrument and his dad doesn’t play either.

“He keeps getting better and better. It gives me joy to see him so happy.”

Zev was born in the United States but has grown up in Southgate and Palmers Green and attended Wolfson Hillel Primary School in Chase Road. He is currently at Dame Alice Owen’s School in Potters Bar but will be switching in September to The Purcell School, a specialist music school near Watford.

Esther said: “I didn’t even want him in a music school, but he has convinced me that he wants to do it. He practises for three to four hours a day. He is also composing and he wants to write film music, he really enjoys that.”

Zev has been taught by concert pianist Alexander Boyd since 2017. Aged ten he joined Junior Guildhall, a Saturday music school in the City, where he has continued his studies with Alexander and gained an ATCL diploma in classic piano.

While Zev has performed in several Guildhall Open House concerts, his performance at 1901 Arts Club in February was his first major headline solo recital.

Esther said: “The solo recital was meant to happen when Covid broke out so he has been waiting for two years to do it. It sold out weeks before so it was a lovely, lovely thing.

“It was mainly people we didn’t know [in the audience], it was just people who follow him and go to the club. They did a lovely job promoting it everywhere. It was a great honour and he was deeply humbled. He played beautifully.

“He is always learning from different eras – jazz, Gershwin – not just classical.”

Jacky Ferber, Zev’s former music teacher at Wolfson Hillel Primary School, was among those in the audience at 1901 Arts Club. He said: “The other children loved his many piano recitals and we were delighted when he came first in the Enfield Piano Competition two years in a row. I was so proud to attend his recital at the 1901 Club and see how accomplished he has become.”

Follow Zev on social media:

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