Zachary Slade is an 8-year-old wunderkind. In an international competition in Poland earlier this year, he placed third in the piano competition . There were 18 students in the 8- to 11-year-old division in which he played. But he’s more than a virtuoso. He loves baseball, karate, swimming, sledding and traveling. And – one more thing – he loves to cook.
How did you become interested in the piano?
When I was little, I watched Disney’s “Little Einsteins” and would go to the piano and try to play what was on the television.
Many parents want their children to play a musical instrument, and some kids don’t like it. Did you like the piano right away or did it take some time?
I liked it right away.
When did you realize you were good at it?
In June 2010, I decided to work to get the Early Bach Medal at the National Piano Playing Auditions. I had to memorize 15 Bach pieces and play them for a judge. I worked really hard for a year and earned it on June 7, 2011.
Do you have a favorite pianist or composer?
American composer William Bolcom. His pieces are fun to play. American Pianist Jon Nakamatsu. I met him a year ago.
What is your favorite piece to play? Do you have any “modern” music you like to play?
My favorite two pieces are “Pussycat Waltz” numbers 2 and 3 by William Bolcom. They are modern pieces. He is still alive.
You finished third in a competition in Poland. Quite an achievement. What did you think of your performance?
I thought it was good.
Was this your first trip overseas? What was the experience like for you?
Yes, it was my first trip overseas. It was awesome! I loved to ride the tram in Krakow and travel around the city.
I know you’re still young, but do you have a hero or someone you really look up to?
My school teachers and my parents.
Besides piano, what other things are you interested in?
Karate, and donating to the Stevens Swan Humane Society to help the animals.
Here’s an age-old question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
If someone asked you to describe Zachary Slade, what would you tell him or her?
I am generous, nice and helpful.
Do you have any advice for kids your age?
Make sure you practice and work hard at what you like to do, then you will succeed.
Education: Second-grader at Bradley Elementary School in New Hartford.
Parents: Maria and Mike Slade.
Favorite things to do: Go to Enchanted Forest / Water Safari in the summer, travel on airplanes, going to the Baseball Hall of Fame, sledding in the winter, swimming, playing baseball in my backyard, playing with my IPad, cooking new recipes.