A young pianist will have a starring role at the launch concert of an international music festival – just after sitting an A-level exam.

Julian Gonzalez, 17, a student at Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen, will perform at St Asaph Cathedral on Wednesday, June 28 at 7.30pm.

The concert will be the curtain-raiser for the acclaimed North Wales International Music Festival at the same venue from September 16 to 30.

Hours after finishing his maths exam, Julian will be performing two solo pieces of work at the festival.

He began playing the piano under the watchful eye of Ann Atkinson, who is also artistic director of the festival – which has a track record for nurturing young musical talent.

The event’s resident orchestra is NEW Sinfonia, founded by conductor Robert Guy and brother, Jonathan, a clarinettist, who were regulars at the festival’s music masterclasses when younger.

Another stellar name who came through the ranks was royal composer Paul Mealor, who was mentored by the festival’s founder, the late Prof William Mathias.

Again this year, the festival is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Ty Cerdd and the sponsors include Pendine Park and the Colwinston Charitable Trust.

Although music is Julian’s passion, he plans to study mathematics at university.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing the piano and as soon as I started playing there was a real connection between the instrument and I.

“I always enjoyed and looked forward to my piano practice and worked with Ann Atkinson every week from the age of seven and later with the renowned pianist, Iwan Llewelyn Jones. However, as much as I love music I see playing as a hobby really.

“I want to pursue mathematics as a career so that’s what I’m focusing on. But things might change.”

Julian, who also plays the French horn, practises for two hours a day on his Seiler baby grand piano at his home in Carrog, near Corwen.

Ann is delighted Julian has agreed to play at the festival’s launch concert, which will also feature a quartet from NEW Sinfonia, Welsh National Opera tenor Huw Llywelyn accompanied by Annette Bryn Parri and both Trelawnyd and Bro Glyndwr male voice choirs.

She said: “Our ethos is to promote young musicians and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their music and ability.

“Julian Gonzalez is a breathtakingly talented young pianist who is able to interpret the works of the greatest composers, really bringing it to life.

“I would encourage anyone who loves classical music to get a ticket before they sell-out and come along for an unforgettable evening of music.

“Among the stars of the festival itself in September will be singers from Welsh National Opera, vocal group VOCES8, NEW Sinfonia, baroque instrumentalists Red Priest, tenor Rhys Meirion, Ensemble Cymru, the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet, violinist Ye-Eun Choi and Italian pianist Federico Colli.”

Tickets for the launch concert are priced £10 via caroline@nwimf.com or Cathedral Frames, High Street, St Asaph or 01745 582929. To find out more about the North Wales International Music Festival visit www.nwimf.com.