Derek Paravicini is one of the most extraordinary pianists and musicians of his generation, yet he is blind and has severe learning difficulties and is on the autism spectrum.
Based in London, Derek performs regularly across the UK, and is also making a name for himself internationally having performed in venues across Europe and the United States.
Derek has a repertoire of tens of thousands of pieces —all learnt very rapidly, just by listening.
Beneath his quiet charm lies a fiery, creative musician, whose astonishing improvisations and dazzling technique have wowed audiences all over the world, with over a million hits on YouTube and another million on TED Talk.
Derek was born premature, at 25 weeks, and weighing just over half a kilogram. As a result of the oxygen therapy required to save his life, Derek lost his sight, and his development was affected too. It later became apparent that he had severe learning difficulties.
However, he soon acquired a fascination for music and sound - Derek began to teach himself to play the piano at the age of two, and by the age of four, had taught himself to play a large number of complex pieces on the piano. With no visual models to guide him, his technique was chaotic, and even his elbows would frequently be pressed into service, as he strove to reach intervals beyond the span of his tiny hands!
At this time, his enormous potential was recognized by Adam Ockelford, then music teacher at Linden Lodge School for the Blind in London. Adam and Derek began to work together weekly and then daily, in an extensive program of tuition that was to last for several years. Painstakingly (through physical demonstration and imitation) Derek acquired the foundations of technique that were necessary for him to move forward.
His natural affinity for jazz, pop and light music soon became evident; together with his improvisation talents, ability to play in any key, and flair for performing in public!
Derek first shot to fame when he was nine, playing jazz with the Royal Philharmonic Pops Orchestra at the Barbican.
Many TV appearances followed, in the UK and overseas, including Japan, Germany and Australia, and three times on CBS’s prestigious ‘60 Minutes’ in the USA. Derek has performed in venues ranging from Ronnie Scott’s renowned jazz club in London, to the Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and in Phoenix, Arizona, for Mohammad Ali.
He has performed twice at Buckingham Palace. In 2011, Derek played ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and a piano concerto written specially for him, at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Derek's talent, love of music, and - above all - the ability to communicate through sound means he will continue to thrill audiences for years to come in the UK and abroad.