Teenage pianist with rare muscle disease is showing music’s power with incredible Chopin videos

15 November 2019, 13:56 | Updated: 15 November 2019, 15:09

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A year ago, this young Italian pianist couldn’t read music. Now, she’s playing Chopin recitals and storming the Internet with her incredible progress videos.

Valentina Irlando, 13, was born with a rare muscle disease – and has been in a wheelchair for as long as she can remember.

But over the last year, Valentina has found the perfect therapy: playing the piano.

The performance videos are now sweeping the Internet, with her beautiful renditions of Beethoven and Chopin demonstrating remarkably quick progress on the instrument.

“For me playing piano is the best medicine!” she tells Classic FM.

“When I was little, I really liked to ‘play’ the piano that my uncle had at home. Since I was born, my grandfather pushed my parents to buy me a piano because his dream was to have a musician in the family.

“So, for Christmas they gave me a toy piano, I really enjoyed playing with it but after a while I started not using it anymore.”

For a number of years, Valentina lost her love of the piano – but last year, she felt that something was missing from her life. So, she decided to take it back up.

“But I had never learned. When I was little, I did not take lessons. I did not even know the musical notes.”

Over the last year, Valentina has been practising every day, and sharing her progress with her Instagram followers.

Her videos, that have been shared across the Internet – and even liked by the famous French-Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili – are a wonderful demonstration of the power of music.

In many of her videos, Valentina credits her teacher – Credici on Instagram – for always sticking by her.

“I would like to thank my teacher for believing in me and for always supporting me, even when what I wanted to do was impossible,” she writes.

“And to think that a year ago I didn’t even know the musical notes.”