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Musical Prodigies -Guest speaker Dr. Gary McPherson, Performance by Gavin George, Piano Prodigy

June 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

The Extraordinary World of the Musical Prodigy

Guest speaker Gary McPherson, Ph.D., Ormond Professor and Director of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Australia, studies giftedness: the characteristics and development of people who have an unusually high potential for greatness. His presentation will talk about his research on musical prodigies, and the range of natural abilities and environmental factors that lead to extraordinarily rapid musical development. How can this be explained? How are musical prodigies different from other children? These two questions are at the heart of his presentation.

Dr. McPherson’s research has provided an increased and deepened understanding of how individuals develop wide-ranging musical skills. Investigating the cognitive and social process involved in acquiring and applying musical competencies, and the personal and environmental factors that affect musical development, ability and identity more generally, he is widely accepted as having had very considerable impact on both music education theory and, not least, its everyday international practice. The value of this contribution is evidenced by widespread citations, guest lecturing at over 50 universities in 25 different countries, and over 40 keynote presentations at national and international conferences in various parts of the world.

Also appearing will be Gavin George, piano prodigy.

Acclaimed for his musical maturity and virtuosity with a passion for music, 12 year-old pianist Gavin George began formal piano instruction at age three-and-a-half. He made his concerto debut by age seven with the Newark-Granville Symphony performing Haydn’s Concerto in D Major, and was a featured performer on the CBS Early Show. As a gold medal winner for two consecutive years in the American Association for the Development of the Gifted and Talented International Piano Competition, Gavin has performed multiple times in Carnegie Hall. He was awarded a full scholarship to study and perform at Luxembourg’s Vianden Music Festival.

In 2011, Gavin became the youngest musician to perform on the Emmy-award winning show From the Top, broadcast on NPR. He was awarded first prize in the SAA’s International Piano Concerto Competition performing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3, and performed at Orchestra Hall (Minneapolis), Midland Theater (Newark), and Constitution Hall (Washington, D.C.). Gavin was selected for one as one of the documentary profiles made by PRODIGIES, appearing on the YouTube THNKR series.


June 16, 2016
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Liberty Station Conference Center
2600 Laning Road
San Diego, CA 92106 United States
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