Derek Paravicini (born July 26, 1979) is a blind English autistic savant and a musical prodigy. He lives in London.
He has absolute pitch and can play a piece of music after hearing it once. He began playing the piano by the age of two when his nanny gave him an old keyboard. His parents arranged for him to attend the Linden Lodge School for the Blind in London. On his introductory visit to the school, in the music room he broke free from his parents, then headed straight for a piano being played, and then pushed the player, Adam Ockelford, aside to take over. Ockelford encouraged him and arranged first weekly and then daily lessons. Aged seven, Paravicini gave his first concert in Tooting Leisure Center in South London.
In 1989, at the age of nine, Paravicini had his first major public concert at the Barbican Hall in London when he played with the Royal Philharmonic Pops Orchestra. In that year, he appeared on Wogan and was the main subject of a documentary called Musical Savants.
When he was older, he was presented with a Barnardo’s Children’s Champion Award by Diana, Princess of Wales for his performances at age seven and nine. More opportunities followed, including playing at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Paravicini lives in London.
Paravicini’s first album Echoes of the Sounds to Be was released on 27 September 2006. His official biography, In the Key of Genius by Adam Ockelford, was published in the UK by Hutchinson (ISBN 978-0091796129) on May 3, 2007.
He was featured on an episode of Channel 5’s Extraordinary People in an episode titled “The Musical Genius”, which showed his journey to Las Vegas to play in a charity concert with another savant, Rex Lewis-Clack. He was interviewed twice by Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes. In 2009, he was one of the subjects of the NOVA series’ episode “Musical Minds”, featuring neurologist Oliver Sacks, on PBS. He was featured a second time by 60 Minutes on March 14, 2010. In 2009, he performed for the former Chancellor Alistair Darling, when he unexpectedly played Big Spender.