Adrian Anantawan makes music accessible to all

Adrian Anantawan was born without a right hand. But that did not stop him from becoming a violin virtuoso. 

At PopTech 2012, Anantawan shared his own story of resilience; how starting at age nine he managed to conquer an instrument that seems to require two fully operational hands. 

But Anantawan is also an educator and technologist who is interested in a more fundamental question: "What happens when a person meets a musical instrument?" he asked.

Adrian Anantawan

Anantawan helped establish the Virtual Chamber Music Initiative at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Centre. It is a collaborative project that develops adaptive musical instruments for kids with disabilities. He said the idea is that, "Children all have the right to explore the world more meaningfully and explore their imagination through this phenomenon we call music."

He shared video of children with severe disabilities who were able to create music with the aid of a computer, camera and simulated colored shapes on a screen. A paralyzed former violinist is even able to accompany Anantawan and other musicians as they perform "Pachabel's Canon." 

 "The violin itself is a 16th-century piece of technology. It was created to extend the range of the human voice," Anantawan said.  "At its best, technology serves to extend the range of human capability."

Photos by PopTech

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