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The Clean Cut: Blind teenage piano virtuoso's incredible performance on 'Ellen'

Posted April 27

Matthew Whitaker isn’t the average teen — in more than one way. Besides being recognized as a remarkable pianist and having performed at Carnegie Hall and the Apollo, Whitaker is blind.

In a video from the “The Ellen Show,” Whitaker explains that he was born premature. Born at only 1 pound, 11 ounces, he was placed on oxygen, which irreparably damaged his eyes.

Blindness doesn’t hold back this New Jersey teen, however, and he received a standing ovation after his performance.

This 16-year-old has an incredible track record. “At age 13, he became the youngest artist endorsed by Hammond Organ in its 81 year history,” his Facebook page reads. “He was also honored to be named a Yamaha Artist at just 15 years old, becoming the youngest pianist to join another elite group of musicians!”

In the video, Whitaker describes that he taught himself how to play “Mary had a Little Lamb” on the keyboard at age 3. He now studies music and jazz in several pre-college institutions and has performed with several influential musicians.

Watch the video here.

bfacer@deseretdigital.com

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