Matthew is a jazz pianist who is blind, and since the age of 11, he’s been performing around the world. He may be blind, but a neuroscientist has found Whitaker’s visual cortex goes into overdrive when he plays. Matthew Whitaker was born at 24 weeks. He weighed 1 pound 11 ounces. His parents were told he had less than a 50% chance of survival. One of the many complications he faced was retinopathy of prematurity, a disease which can lead to blindness.
He’s been called a prodigy and his talent is so extraordinary he’s also caught the attention of scientists who are now studying his brain and trying to understand his vision of music.
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.
Whitaker just wants to play, so he did. At the piano, he is pure joy. Jumping from the classics, to Beyoncé. But what’s so special is how he takes those songs, any song, improvising it on the spot to make it his own.