An 11-year-old pianist from Indonesia being hailed as a jazz prodigy is about to make his debut on some of New York City’s biggest stages.
Joey Alexander has been turning heads since teaching himself to play piano at age 6, and he is set to perform at both the Apollo Theatre and the Lincoln Center in the coming months.
Wednesday night, he played with Julliard students more than twice his age with twice the experience in a small concert in Tribeca to raise money for a visa to stay in New York City.
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“I like music,” Alexander said. “The music of jazz is here in New York.”
Alexander’s father introduced him to jazz albums at a young age, and he says he’s been enamored by the genre since.
"I like jazz because there's freedom and expression," he said.
He and his family were brought here after being discovered by several jazz musicians, and he has already made the most of the experience, performing for former President Bill Clinton and working on a studio album.
He says his hope is to stay in New York City to continue refining his skills.
But fellow musicians at the concert Wednesday said the 11-year-old is already an astounding talent.
“When I first heard of him, I was like, ‘Another prodigy kid? Alright, here we go, here we go,’” said trumpeter Alphonso Leonardo Horne III. “Then I heard him, and I was like, ‘Whoa. Wow.’”
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