Lasalle graduate's piano rendition of Queen songs gets the thumbs up from the band's Brian May

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SINGAPORE - A classical piano medley of Queen songs done by Singapore-based Lasalle College of the Arts graduate Eshan Denipitiya, 23, has caught the eye of the British band's guitarist Brian May.

The Queen guitarist posted a segment of the video on his Instagram page on Nov 25. "Beautiful interpretation," May wrote in the caption. "How wonderful that Freddie's Magnum Opus is still inspiring artists all around the planet." The post has since been viewed over 156,500 times.

Denipitiya, who hails from Sri Lanka, uploaded a video of his three-minute piano medley of three of the band's most popular songs - Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions and We Will Rock You - in October on his Facebook and YouTube pages.

It was reposted several times on social media, including on British classical music radio station Classic FM's page, before ending up on May's account.

Denipitiya is over the moon as he has been a fan of Queen since his father, a music director, introduced him to the band when he was six. He started learning the piano at the same age.

"Queen has been one of my biggest musical inspirations. I've grown up listening to their tunes," he tells The Straits Times. "The way they break down all barriers in music, crossing genres to create something that is so unique is one of the main reasons I love them."

He first came up with his Queen rendition for Lasalle's annual piano concert in 2017 but it was performed on two pianos with another pianist. Denipitiya, who has watched the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody now showing in cinemas twice, later arranged a solo version, and had fellow Lasalle students video his performance in a music studio in the school.

"I tried to incorporate classical elements into the arrangement to showcase the true capabilities of the piano," says Denipitiya, who is a fan of various genres including classical, rock and electronic dance music. "This particular arrangement was rather easy to come up with because their music is so rich, and the arrangement almost wrote itself."

May is not the only famous act who has noticed his talents. When American YouTube stars The Piano Guys performed here at The Star Theatre in September, they invited Denipitiya up on stage for an impromptu jam.

He arrived in Singapore in 2015 to study at Lasalle and graduated top of his Bachelor of Arts in Music class in May 2018.

He has since been working as a piano teacher at music school Aureus Academy and intends to develop his music career here. "I feel Singapore is a good place to be in right now. There are a lot of opportunities in the music industry here."

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