In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini

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9780091796129: In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini

Derek Paravicini is blind, doesn't know his fingers from his thumbs and needs round-the-clock care. But he has an extremely rare gift - he is a musical prodigy whose piano-playing has thrilled audiences at venues from Ronnie Scott's to Las Vegas, the Barbican to Buckingham Palace. Born prematurely, weighing just 1lb 5oz, Derek remained in hospital for three months and technically 'died' several times before he was finally strong enough to go home. It was not long before his blindness became apparent, and as he grew older, it also became clear that he had severe learning difficulties and autism as well. Desperately trying to find something to engage and stimulate baby Derek, his nanny discovered a toy organ at the family house and put it down in front of him. Miraculously, without anyone realising it at first, Derek taught himself to play. By the time he was two, he could pick out nursery rhymes - before he could even talk. Music proved to be an outlet not only for expressing himself, but for communicating with others - his way of dealing with a strange and confusing world. By the time he had graduated to the piano, aged four, he was already an exceptional musician in the making. His mentor in this journey has been teacher and music psychologist Dr Adam Ockelford. 'I'd never seen anything like it,' says Ockelford of first hearing Derek play. 'He hit the notes with his fingers, his hands, his elbows - even his nose! You could tell that he'd never had a lesson, yet he produced this original version of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", with hundreds of notes racing off in all directions. It was eccentric, mad! But wonderful to hear. I just had to teach him.' Adam Ockelford's compelling account of their musical relationship is both immensely moving and a fascinating testament to the young man who still can't tell his right hand from his left, yet amazes all who hear him play. As Jools Holland, who has performed with Derek, says: 'He's got a wonderful pair of musical ears. He just has to hear what you play and he's straight there. There are no limits to what he can do.'

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Review:

"A moving account of an incredibly gifted pianist" ( Mail on Sunday)

"Nobody can really "know'' Paravicini since he is locked in his own world ... What Ockelford demonstrates is that it is possible to make such an insular world fulfilling, and the contemplation of this can touch the rest of us. That, in itself, is a considerable achievement." ( Daily Telegraph)

"Ockelford tells his story well. No one else ... could have explained Derek in quite the same way." ( Daily Mail)

From the Publisher:

Autistic and unable to care for himself, Derek Paravicini is also a musical genius.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Ockelford, Adam
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