Carlingford musician in Australian National Piano Award

"ONE thing I do which is more practical than superstitious is I try and keep my hands dry."

Carlingford pianist Nicholas Young was talking about his habits leading up to major competitions.

"You don't want to have too much sweat on the keyboard, because that just makes your job more difficult than it needs to be," he said.

He has reason to be nervous. He's preparing for the Australian National Piano Award — hailed as Australia's biggest classical piano competition — and to vie for $20,000.

The 21-year-old is one of 11 contestants aged 21 to 25 selected to compete in the competition in Shepparton, Victoria on September 10 to 15.

If Young makes it into the grand final on September 15, you will also be able to hear him live on ABC Classic FM.

Young is at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on an outstanding achievement scholarship.

He has received many awards in eisteddfods and piano competitions.

"I'm just running through my repertoire now and finetuning things," the former Baulkham Hills High School student said.

"Ideally, [I'd do] a good three to four hours of practise every day."

Young will be performing music ranging from the 18th century to the modern day in this competition, which will be run as a series of recitals.

He began playing piano when he was six. He has an associate diploma in classical guitar and in his final year an honours degree in music.

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