Playing violin for me is like praying
Adrian Anantawan is a one armed violinist and has lived without the use of a right hand for his entire life. When he was ten, his parents bought him a violin, which was an inordinate expense at the time, and the possibility a successful adaptation would be difficult. With the help of biomedical engineers at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, he was able to play with an adaptive device known as a “spatula.” This product of technology has allowed him to play the instrument proficiently, with careful guidance from innovative arts educators within schools and the community. While all children may not have the same luck and opportunities as he did, Adrian Anantawan believes it is possible to have a career in music for those with disabilities, given the right environment.
Canadian born violinist and educator Adrian Anantawan holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a violinist, he has studied with Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter; his academic work in education was supervised by Howard Gardner. Memorable moments include performances at the White House, the Opening Ceremonies of the Athens and Vancouver Olympic Games and the United Nations. He has played for the late Christopher Reeve and for Pope John Paul II, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
With his place in the classical music world secure, Anantawan now wants to focus on helping others like him.
Adrian has performed extensively in Canada as a soloist with the Orchestras of Toronto, Nova Scotia, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver. He has also presented feature recitals at the Aspen Music Festival, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the White House. He has also represented Canada as a cultural ambassador in the 2006 Athens Olympics, and was a feature performer at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Active within his community, Adrian helped to create the Virtual Chamber Music Initiative at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Centre. The cross-collaborative project brings researchers, musicians, doctors and educators together to develop adaptive musical instruments capable of being played by young person with disabilities within a chamber music setting. From 2012-2016, he was the co-Director of Music at the Conservatory Lab Charter School, serving students from the Boston area, kindergarten through grade eight. Adrian is a Juno Award nominee, a member of the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, and was awarded a Diamond Jubilee Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the Commonwealth.
Anantawan says he's happiest playing music or working with children, who seem to relate to his boyish demeanor.