Photo Credit: Ben Asen Photography
In a rousing performance with his quintet, 22-year-old, blind piano prodigy Matthew Whitaker delivered the goods, reassuring an excited audience that the future of jazz is in capable hands.
Presented as a benefit concert for FMDG Music School, Matthew Whitaker’s performance on October 17 was nothing less than an inspiration coming to life. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, Matthew Whitaker has performed around the world for nearly a decade, having overcome the challenge of being blind. Considered a prodigy because of his extraordinary talent, he’s a graduate of Julliard, leads a highly sought-after touring band, and recently worked as the musical director for the Broadway-aimed show about the life of Billy Strayhorn, co-produced by Billy Porter.
Tuesday’s concert was an opportunity for Matthew to give back to his alma mater, The Filomen M. D’ Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) Music School, a privately-funded, non-profit in Manhattan that stands as one of the only community music schools in the country dedicated to helping people of all ages pursue their study of music despite their vision loss. Matthew brought the very best to the stage with an incredible backing band of a guitarist, bass player (both electronic and standing), drummer, percussionist, and select students from FMDG.
Whitaker balances his modern love for synthesizers with his classical reverence for the grand piano and the organ. The joy of his performance is infectious, and you cannot deny the happiness of his band as they perform with him. There is no doubt that something special is happening on stage, and it takes your breath away to watch it live.
Celebrating the future of jazz with dignity and respect, Matthew Whitaker is a creative powerhouse whose talents helped raise thousands of dollars and generate awareness for the FMDG Music School and its students.