Author Topic: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist  (Read 417 times)

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Offline ShineyMcShineShine

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Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« on: May 28, 2018, 04:33:37 PM »
Today I heard my local NPR radio station promoting an event featuring "blind, autistic pianist Derek Paravicini". Apparently he'll be performing at the Mainly Mozart Festival's Genius Weekend 2018. I'd never heard of him before, but Google shows me this is far from the first time he's been described thus. Nevertheless, it seems more than a little grubby to promote him this way. Thoughts?

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 04:52:21 PM »
They make it sound like a sideshow. I vastly prefer 'come hear the pianist'. If he is very good, then it might be an interesting sidelight to know he is blind and autistic. If he is merely average, then his disability won't be the reason given for it.

People, however, love a freak show. I wouldn't normally classify it as such, but THEY are doing the promoting... :-\

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Offline Ken B

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 05:05:15 PM »
They make it sound like a sideshow. I vastly prefer 'come hear the pianist'. If he is very good, then it might be an interesting sidelight to know he is blind and autistic. If he is merely average, then his disability won't be the reason given for it.

People, however, love a freak show. I wouldn't normally classify it as such, but THEY are doing the promoting... :-\

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 05:46:47 PM »
I admit it. I'd pay to see Trump sing Die Winterreise in a pink tu-tu.

Well yeah, sure. He's a freaking sideshow all to himself. No pianos needed. :D

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Offline ShineyMcShineShine

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2018, 07:12:01 PM »
Maybe Thomas Quasthoff should start billing himself as "thalidomide baby bass-baritone".

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2018, 07:38:30 PM »
Was gonna say it's like turning the musician into a freakshow, as if people on the autism spectrum and people with visual impairment can't normally be musicians......

Normally I would associate this kind of announcement with the kind of society that exploits these people for a laugh and some entertainment; it's kind of sad that one still hears of things like this in the US.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 07:40:14 PM by jessop »

Offline Marc

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2018, 08:23:26 PM »
Gonna start me own corner/thread on this board entitled "Come and read the myopic cracked GMG member".
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2018, 11:09:32 PM »
Was gonna say it's like turning the musician into a freakshow, as if people on the autism spectrum and people with visual impairment can't normally be musicians......

Normally I would associate this kind of announcement with the kind of society that exploits these people for a laugh and some entertainment; it's kind of sad that one still hears of things like this in the US.
Might be the other way around: they promote this pianist by those qualities to make their event seem more "diverse". Same difference, I suppose. Having said that, it would be best to find out if this is how said pianist promotes himself or if it was done in this case without his approval. According to his website he "is an extraordinarily talented pianist, despite being blind and having severe learning difficulties." His Twitter bio reads: "[He] is one of the most extraordinary pianists and musical entertainers of his generation. Yet he is blind, autistic and has severe learning difficulties." So it would appear that autism and blindness are part of his brand, for better or worse. Let him represent himself as he wishes, is my feeling on the matter.

Offline amw

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2018, 11:33:54 PM »
It's unlikely he runs his own twitter page or website though. It's a brand created by his agent/publicist & he may not have massive choice in the matter; publicists are notoriously exploitative of things like disability, age, etc. (remember the japanese composer who was promoted on account of his deafness, but then recently it turned out he had hired a ghostwriter because the pressure was too much & he was struggling to compose? yeah)

anyway this is gross but not too different from what Leopold did to Wolfgang & Nannerl and honestly classical music audiences have been eating it up for 250 years and show no signs of stopping. it's basically a circus for rich people

Offline ShineyMcShineShine

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2018, 11:39:17 PM »
Might be the other way around: they promote this pianist by those qualities to make their event seem more "diverse".

Has anyone else noticed that autism has become very fashionable lately?

Genius Weekend Showcase - Celebrating Genius in Unexpected Places
6:30pm - 9:30pm - $250 per person
Genius Weekend’s elegant opening event on Friday, June 8, celebrates genius in unexpected places, showcasing artists on the autism spectrum. This gala evening will take place in the extraordinary North San Diego County home of Mainly Mozart Board Chair DeAnn Cary. Enjoy fine food and wines, valet parking and an art display of works by local artists on the autism spectrum. Derek Paravicini, Alexander Pruetting and Reed Moriarty will be among the artists featured.

Saturday, June 9, 2018
Music & the Mind in The Gaslamp
11:00am - 5:00pm $25 All-Day Pass
$100 VIP Pass (includes admission to hosted VIP Lounge)
Music & the Mind features presentations by some of the greatest minds in autism-music research and therapies plus performances by exceptional artists on the autism spectrum. Speakers and musicians will be featured in three Gaslamp Quarter venues adjacent to the Balboa Theatre. Interactive neuro-technology displays, special lunch menus and specialty craft cocktails are all part of this afternoon of music-brain exploration. The day opens with a dress rehearsal of the Festival Orchestra at the Balboa Theatre. Also at the Balboa is a sensory-friendly concert featuring Sesame Street’s Julia. This concert is specifically designed for people on the autism spectrum and their families – both at the Balboa Theatre.

Saturday, June 9, 2018
9:30pm - 11:30pm $150 (includes party and ticket to the June 9th opening night concert)
This year’s Genius Night party honors Nobel Laureate and Salk Institute President Emerita Elizabeth Blackburn. Following that evening’s performance by the incomparable Michael Francis and the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra, walk from the Balboa Theatre to the Sparks Gallery and mingle with San Diego’s tech geniuses, forty of the nation’s top orchestral musicians, and researchers and academics in the field of autism. Tickets include admission to the party, as well as an “A” section ticket to the opening concert of the Festival Orchestra, featuring pianist Anne-Marie McDermott at the Balboa Theatre. The Sparks Gallery will be displaying art by Nobel Laureate Roger Guillemin and local autistic artist Jeremy Sicile-Kira.

Sunday, June 10, 2018
Balboa Theatre
7:30pm Concert
Blind and autistic, Derek Paravicini is a keyboard genius. With a repertoire of thousands of memorized pieces, he is the subject of the biography “In the Key of Genius” and has been featured three times on 60 Minutes. Mr. Paravicini will perform a world-premiere work, commissioned by Mainly Mozart for this very special closing Genius Weekend event. The program also features the Festival Orchestra (including a side-by-side performance with Mainly Mozart’s Youth Orchestra), Los Angeles Philharmonic Concertmaster Martin Chalifour in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, and a closing half featuring Derek in a program of jazz and popular works.


Offline Crudblud

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2018, 12:23:32 AM »
It's unlikely he runs his own twitter page or website though. It's a brand created by his agent/publicist & he may not have massive choice in the matter; publicists are notoriously exploitative of things like disability, age, etc. (remember the japanese composer who was promoted on account of his deafness, but then recently it turned out he had hired a ghostwriter because the pressure was too much & he was struggling to compose? yeah)
That is something else that concerned me, how much influence he has in terms of his public profile. I would like to hope that Paravicini does have some say, but it would seem it's often the case that agents can pick and choose talent while the same liberty is not afforded to talent itself, so he might be stuck with someone who could axe him at any time if he speaks up. Showbiz has always been a predatory and exploitative industry. I wonder if there will be a "metoo" for this sort of thing as well.

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2018, 12:53:19 AM »
It is a repulsive PR shtick.

His 'miraculous powers of musical memory' are, to use a politically incorrect phrase, some of those oddly dealt out computer chips that are found in many an 'idiot savant.'  Thing is, there are non-autistic musicians who have a like memory; though it is rare, there are numbers of them from throughout history.  As usual, he's playing 'all the notes' but there is not much else to it, i.e. no real communicative power, personal and informed point of view as to interpretation, etc.
Mozart, who sounds quite well enough when played by child prodigies ('child' is redundant there, if you did not know, ergo, past age 12, this fellow is no longer a prodigy -- so much for lies and hype.)   His 'gift' is that memory, a facility, all in the vein of mimic more than a creative performer.  All the criteria for hiring a 'real' musician for the program he is playing in had to have been tossed out the window to make such a judgement call.

He is another victim of hype, PR, and my guess is perhaps the parents, burdened with supporting this special needs guy for a lifetime, are happy to find they can "cash in on him" -- in order to better be able to support him.

Make no mistake, though.. his being booked to perform has little or nothing to do with music, good musical judgment, or great music-making. That is a sad near certainty.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 08:57:57 PM by Monsieur Croche »
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Offline ShineyMcShineShine

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2018, 05:26:57 PM »
my guess is perhaps the parents, burdened with supporting this special needs guy for a lifetime, are happy to find a to cash in on him in order to better be able to support him.

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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2018, 08:54:58 PM »
Might be the other way around: they promote this pianist by those qualities to make their event seem more "diverse". Same difference, I suppose. Having said that, it would be best to find out if this is how said pianist promotes himself or if it was done in this case without his approval. According to his website he "is an extraordinarily talented pianist, despite being blind and having severe learning difficulties." His Twitter bio reads: "[He] is one of the most extraordinary pianists and musical entertainers of his generation. Yet he is blind, autistic and has severe learning difficulties." So it would appear that autism and blindness are part of his brand, for better or worse. Let him represent himself as he wishes, is my feeling on the matter.

From the above, I would highlight in bold red font "entertainer"
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Come and see the blind, autistic pianist
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2018, 11:07:01 PM »
From the above, I would highlight in bold red font "entertainer"
Right, he's in the same sort of "ballpark" as Liberace and Victor Borge, I'd guess.