Award-winning pianist Eric Fung King-hei still remembers how he was first drawn to the instrument in kindergarten. 'I remember I found it interesting to see how the keys jumped up and down when our teacher was playing the piano,' said Fung, 27. It was an interest that grew into a devotion that would take him all the way from Sha Tin to the hallowed Carnegie Hall in New York, where he played in May this year. The honour came after he won second prize in the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig, Germany, in 2002. Fung began learning the piano when he was five. Despite the long hours of daily practice he has had to put in, he said his interest in the instrument and in music in general had never waned. 'I never felt bored by the long practice. Every time, I found something new from the music, even if I was playing the same piece,' he said. 'To maintain curiosity in music, you need to keep discovering from it.' It was in Form Three that Fung set his sights on playing the piano as a career. In 1993 he enrolled in the Eastman School of Music at New York's University of Rochester. He did not leave until seven years later, with a bachelor's degree in music and two master's degrees, one in piano performance, the other in music theory. He is now a student at New York's Juilliard School. 'The education I received in these two schools helped my piano performance to be balanced and well rounded,' he said. However, the tutor who impressed and inspired him the most was his boyhood teacher - Eva Lue of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. 'She taught me to listen first and perform second, which has proved to be useful advice in my career. I could not have achieved my success without her,' said Fung, who was recently in Hong Kong for a charity performance. Unsurprisingly, his favourite composer is Bach, not only because of the German great's music but his life. 'Bach was a genius,' Fung said. He said the cultural gap between west and east was never an obstacle to understanding Bach's music. 'Fortunately, I have the same religion [as] Bach - Christianity.' Despite his numerous successes in competition, he said competitive success was not the only measure of a musician. 'A successful pianist is one who can share his music effectively,' Fung said. As well as pursuing his career as a professional pianist, he would like to communicate his music to more people by teaching. 'I'm now hunting for a teaching job in music schools. But it will never get in the way of me being a pianist,' he said.