Barnhart Student, Marc Soong, Performs at Carnegie Hall

Marc Soong. Photo credit:
Marc Soong. Photo credit:

The word “gifted” usually refers to someone who has innate intellectual or artistic abilities that surpass his or her age, while “talented” is often used to describe one who works hard and accomplishes feats exceptionally well. Based on those delineations, a gifted child doesn’t put in any work, while a talented kid makes some effort to achieve something spectacular.

Marc Soong, a recently graduated eighth grader from Barnhart, a K-eighth grade independent school in Arcadia, is both gifted and talented. Listening to his spirited and rousing rendition of “Grand Etude Paganini No. 3 La Campanella” by Franz Liszt on the piano transports you into another world and time. His amazing fingering also reveals a mastery of technique honed by hours of painstaking practice and a devotion to his craft.

This past June 28, Soong electrified as he performed the finale number at The 65th Annual Redlands Bowl Young Artist Competition Winners where he interpreted Chopin, Rossini, and Ginzburg.Soong’s outstanding musical abilities have earned him awards from the Los Angeles Young Musician International Competition, San Jose International Piano Competition, American Protégé Piano and String Competition, among others.

Love of music came to Soong early on, when he was three-years-old and heard Melody playing the piano. He remembers that in first grade, he tagged along when his sister visited USC’s Thornton School of Music to meet with Daniel Pollack, a renowned professor there. When he was in third grade, he became one of Professor Pollack’s students. Vladimir Khomyakov, who at age 32 is an accomplished concert pianist himself, is Professor Pollack’s assistant and has been Soong’s piano teacher since he was eight years old.

“Marc is a brilliant student to teach because once he starts, he’s hungry for more. He learns a piece on his own, asks a lot of questions, and has great initiative. While he chooses his pieces based on his personal journey, I help him build a balanced repertoire to include various genres, styles, periods, and composers, and develop a solid program as an artist,” Khomyakov said.

Soong is surrounded by people who support him – from his parents who encourage him to follow his dreams and provide the means for him to do so, to school administrators who find the perfect environment to engage his mind, to his music teachers who dare him to play demanding piano pieces, to friends who supply him with equilibrium as he navigates life.

For more information on the Barnhart School you can visit They are located at 240 W. Colorado Blvd. in Arcadia and can be reached by calling (626) 446-5588.




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