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Now Playing! NLS 90th Anniversary Virtual Concert with Matthew Whitaker

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), Library of Congress, has kicked off its 90th anniversary celebration with a free virtual concert by jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker. The performance is now available at https://youtu.be/4X5NhVwLzM4 and can also be streamed on the Library’s YouTube page.

Karen Keninger, the Director of NLS, conducted an engaging interview with Whitaker, which is also available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KZ2L_JU4pc as well as on the Library’s YouTube page.

Whitaker performs many of his own compositions, including “A New Day,” “Emotions,” and “Miss Michelle,”  as well as some covers from Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, and Stevie Wonder. This outstanding concert also features Marcos Robinson (guitar), Karim Hutton (bass), and Isaiah Johnson (drums).

Blind since infancy, Whitaker has been a patron of the NLS Music Section since the age of 13. He studied classical piano and drums at the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg (FMDG) Music School in New York City, and learned to read braille music. He attended the Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege Jazz Program and is currently a second-year student in the jazz studies program at Juilliard in New York City, studying with jazz composer/pianist Frank Kimbrough.

Whitaker won the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards for 2019 and 2020 and has been featured on stages around the world and on TV shows including Ellen and NBC’s Today. In a story on the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes neuroscientists discussed how Whitaker’s brain is stimulated by music—so much so that his visual cortex lights up when he plays.

This special 90th Anniversary Celebration of NLS is off to a rousing start! Please enjoy this wonderful performance by Matthew Whitaker and his band, and take time to check out his interview with our own Karen Keninger.

Be sure to follow NLS on Facebook or check out the Library of Congress Events page or the NLS Music Notes blog. Celebrate with us, and enjoy the concert!

NLS 90th Anniversary Virtual Concert with Matthew Whitaker

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), Library of Congress, will kick off its 90th anniversary celebration with a free virtual concert by jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m. (EST)—and you’re invited!

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: W (Part 2 – Whitaker, Matthew)

For this week’s feature on American Composers and Musicians, we will look at the remarkable life and work of jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker. He will perform a free virtual concert, which will begin streaming on the Library’s YouTube page on Wednesday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m.

Virtual Concert: Jazz Pianist Matthew Whitaker

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), Library of Congress, will kick off its 90th anniversary celebration with a free virtual concert by jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m. (EST), and you’re invited!

Justin Kauflin Redux

We have written – more than once – about Music Section patron Justin Kauflin. Last October, Justin performed a wonderful jazz set at the Library of Congress celebrating 50 years of service by the NLS Music Section, and demonstrating his prowess and creativity at the keyboard. Thanks to technology, Justin’s performance can now be heard […]

In Performance: Musicians Take the Stage

While most people associate Louis Braille with the system of reading and writing for the blind, many are not aware he was also an accomplished organist and musician.  There is good evidence he created the Braille code for music first and language second.  But whichever came first, the literary or the music code, we’re just grateful […]