Thursday, May 8, 2008
7 News Features: Whiz Kids: Piano
One South Florida 7-year-old has already graced the stage with the likes of Nelly Furtado and Gloria Gaynor. Ethan Bortnick is considered a piano prodigy and can play more than 200 songs by memory, yet, as Seven's Lynn Martinez shows us, he is still very much a normal kid.
WSVN -- Ethan appears to be your average 7-year-old boy.
Ethan Bortnick: "I love the animals."
Until you hear this...
Gene Bortnick: "He kept telling us, 'I want piano lessons, I want piano lessons.'"
Ethan Bortnick: "And they said, 'No, you are still in diapers,' so I had a toy keyboard, I listened to every note of Alla Turca by Mozart."
Gene Bortnick: "So he finally did start playing the Mozart piece that he was listening to by ear, and we said, 'All right, it's time for you to get piano lessons.'"
Soon this little guy was composing his own music.
Ethan Bortnick: "Sometimes I think about the story, and, most times, I like to compose it all about animals."
Ethan Bortnick: "'Arctic Jazz' by me, Ethan Bortnick."
And he's turned into quite a performer.
Gene Bortnick: "We saw him on stage, he was a year or two out of diapers and, at that point, we said, 'Oh, my God, he is really enjoying it.'"
Gene Bortnick: "I think the anxiety of the fear, when it got scary, was when we were invited by Jay Leno."
Ethan Bortnick: "Things started happening like it was a roller coaster."
Ethan Bortnick: "So Andrea Bocelli invited me to his concert and, by accident, it was a school night. I just had to fall asleep on my stroller, and, the next morning, when I played a chord, like he plays the note for, 'Besame Mucho.'"
Ethan was playing a song he heard while he was sleeping.
Gene Bortnick: "He starts literally playing like he has been playing it for 10 years."
And his star keeps rising.
Ethan Bortnick: "Gloria Gaynor invited me to her concert. She announced me, I came out, and they are like, 'Wow, I thought he would be much taller.'"
Which presents challenges for his parents.
Gene Bortnick: "The talent is overwhelming from a beauty point of view. It's beautiful, it's amazing. The overwhelming part is keeping him as a child and keeping him protected."
But Ethan is keeping it all in perspective.
Ethan Bortnick: "This may sound crazy, but I want to be a zoo keeper."
Lynn Martinez: "Next for Ethan, he has been invited to guest star in a Nickelodeon show and is working on original songs for Disney's the Little Einstein series and just released a DVD."