In the Key of Genius

Thursday 8th June 2023

On Tuesday 6th June, we were lucky enough to hear a talk given by Derek Paravicini, a world-renowned blind and autistic pianist and his teacher Professor Adam Ockelford.

We were introduced to the incredible talent of Derek who, from a very young age, began to explore sound, picking up a keyboard and teaching himself to play. Adam began teaching and working with Derek when Derek was only four. We were offered an insight into Derek’s musical journey and the way he learns music through an engaging talk by Adam interspersed with musical interludes and interjections from Derek. He is nicknamed ‘the human iPod’ and can play any piece after just hearing it once, so members of the audience were invited to request any song of their choice, which proved extremely popular – this skill was demonstrated in playing the South African National Anthem –  Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika. What we found interesting was the ease in which he was able to add his own ‘stamp’ to a piece, with unique improvisations, and we all had a great time getting to know both Derek and Adam.

It was incredible to witness the way in which music acts as a language for Derek, and how he is able to connect with others through music!

Jasmine P + Poppy M

Click here to watch a Ted Talk with Derek and Adam to truly appreciate an incredible talent.

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