Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

A Star for Now and the Future

Jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker has been regaling audiences around the world since starting to play professionally at age 11. Last spring, at age 20, Whitaker, who is blind, made his first appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. He also was featured in a CBS-TV 60 Minutes segment. According to the CBS News website, “Whitaker doesn’t just play music, he plays with it. Twisting melodies, crafting complex harmonies and improvising at lightning speed. It’s acoustic acrobatics performed over 88 keys and it is not for the faint of heart.” The website article also explains how a neuroscientist in California, Dr. Charles Limb, did an MRI showing little activity in Whitaker’s visual cortex for other activities, but high activity when listening to or playing music. Whitaker, whose vision loss resulted from retinopathy of prematurity, began his musical training at age 3 with the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) Music School in New York City, a school for students with vision impairment, where he continues to study today. For more on his story: ” Matthew Whitaker