The following is a guest blog by Katie Rodda of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
On October 22, the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) will present a concert by jazz pianist and NLS patron Justin Kauflin in the Coolidge Auditorium at 7:15 p.m. Kauflin has been a member of NLS for over 15 years, and we have had the good fortune to witness Kauflin’s amazing musical growth and journey.
Kauflin began playing music at the age of 6, learning both piano and violin and eventually leading many orchestral groups as concertmaster. Just a few years later, at the age of 11, Kauflin completely lost his sight due to a hereditary disorder. Yet, Kauflin continued his musical ambitions and started exploring jazz piano at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Performing Arts. By 15 he was performing professionally, and in 2004 he was awarded a Presidential scholarship to attend William Paterson University in New Jersey, where he continued his study of jazz. He hasn’t looked back since.
We here at NLS were fortunate to have this talented musician as one of our patrons as he began to read braille music. Over the years, we have been able to see his musical talents bloom, and we are lucky to have had a part in his growth into a professional musician.
Recently, Kauflin has been featured in the Quincy Jones-produced documentary Keep On Keepin’ On, which follows the relationship between Kauflin and his mentor, jazz trumpeter Clark Terry (winner of 2010’s GRAMMY Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz). The movie examines the relationship between the two musicians, as Terry begins to cope with his own diabetes-related vision loss. The movie is now showing in select theaters nationwide.
The concert at the Library of Congress will feature Kauflin on solo piano playing some of his favorite charts. We here at NLS are so happy to see one of our patrons play in the Coolidge Auditorium, and his performance should not be missed!
Justin Kauflin in concert at the Library of Congress
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 7:15pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building
Free and open to the public, no tickets required
[Pre-Concert Q&A: 6:00pm, Whittall Pavilion]
For more information, visit www.loc.gov/nls/ or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).