13 year old musician wows Ovation Network Series
At 3 years old, Matthew Whitaker of Hackensack N.J., blind since birth, already showed musical promise on a small keyboard given to him by his Grandfather. By age 9, the “toy” keyboard gave way to a full-size Hammond B-3 Organ, and now, at 13, Matthew is poised to break large in the Jazz and Gospel Worlds.
The Nation has been introduced to the young and most gifted virtuoso, through the Ovation Network’s “Young Marvels” series, which follows the developments of incredible children who are making landmark achievements in all areas of the arts. The episode airing on Wednesday September 17th shows Matthew playing with one of his Mentors, Jazz Legend and Hammond Organ Hall-Of-Fame member Dr. Lonnie Smith. See Video Clip Here.
Dr. Smith formally inducted Matthew as an Official Hammond Organ Artist, on behalf of the company, where Matthew joins the ranks of Hammond Giants like Brian Auger, Keith Emerson, Rev. Moses Tyson, and Bernie Worrell. At age 13, he becomes the youngest artist so honored in the company’s 81-year history.
Matthew’s genius extends beyond the Hammond Organ, excelling on Piano and Drums as well. He has performed extensively, on an international scale, with concerts before the UN Youth Assembly at the United Nations HQ in New York, and Jazz at Lincoln Center among the highlights.
Matthew was a winning participant in the “Amateur Night at the Apollo Child Stars of Tomorrow”; which resulted in his being the opening performer for Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo’s hall of fame.