Thursday, March 15, 2012

March is Disability Awareness Month

March is Disability Awareness Month, though when a "disabled" musician performs, the last thing you're aware of is his or her disability.  Check out what "disabled" people with musical talent have accomplished:

Blind Musicians:

Francesco Landini, 14th-Century organist and composer, blinded by smallpox

Antonio de Cabezon, a 16th-Century composer and keyboard player

Joaquin Rodrigo, twentieth-century composer and pianist

Blind Tom, one of the first famous blind musicians of the United States

Blind Lemon Jefferson, early Delta Blues singer

Blind Willie Johnson, early Delta Blues singer

Clarence Carter, soul / R&B singer

Ray Charles, famous R&B singer/pianist

Stevie Wonder, famous R&B singer/pianist

Andrea Bocelli, popular classical crossover singer

Art Tatum, jazz pianist

George Shearing, jazz pianist

Diane Schuur, jazz pianist

The Blind Boys of Alabama are a Grammy-award winning gospel singing group
Musicians With Other Disabilities:

Itzhak Perlman, one of the top violinists of our time.  A native of Israel, because of a childhood case of polio, he needs crutches to get around.

Paul Wittgenstein was a famous pianist who lost his right hand in World War I.  Wittgenstein inspired, arranged or collaborated on piano music for one hand. Later injured pianists, such as Leon Fleisher, who lost the use of his right hand due to focal distonia, have been able to continue performing thanks to that repertoire.

Rick Allen, drummer for Def Leppard,  lost his left arm in an automobile crash and continues to perform on an adaptive drumset and to encourage veterans (amputees and others) through his Raven Drum Foundation.

Music, Disability, and Society by Alex Lubet ML 3820 .L823 2011