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Oliver and Lennon Aldort

December 15, 2009

Two brothers who have never been to school and are flourishing through self-directed learning!

Oliver Aldort is a 15-year-old musical prodigy who began his musical performing career just one year after beginning cello lessons. He was 7 years old when he gave his debut recital on center stage to a full house at Orcas Theatre in Seattle, Washington. His first orchestral appearance at the age of ten included a cello and piano concerto. Oliver plays both the cello and piano at the professional level. He is also a conductor and a composer. Oliver’s prodigious talents are unique in this genre because of his fantastic understanding of the structure of music. He works from memory and can start anywhere without referring to the notes. Oliver also has perfect pitch with the ability to immediately tell what key he is listening to, while being able to detect the slightest intonation fluctuations.

Oliver has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras in Washington, Boston, and British Columbia. He has played Dvorak, Saint Saens, Hayden, and Schumann cello concertos as well as Mozart’s two late piano concertos. For Oliver, the greatest pleasure of his musical career is performing. Oliver explains, “I enter the room to win, and then I am fine with whatever happens.”

Oliver has been the winner of several state, regional and national music competitions. In 2007, he won the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National competition on cello. In 2008, he was awarded the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival (SYAMF) medal for ages 14-19. Oliver’s performance of the Schumann cello concerto left the large crowd gasping and wanting more. Oliver’s three-quarter-size cello was awarded to him by the Carlsen Foundation in recognition of his talent and dedication to music.

Aldort has appeared on KOMO-TV, and was featured on the National Public Radio program, “From the Top,” recorded live in Jordan Hall in Boston. He was also heard on CBC radio in Vancouver and was filmed for the UK Channel 4 TV program, “The World Greatest Prodigies.”

Oliver is a self-directed learner. He does not attend school, does not watch TV, and his musical path is his own initiative. “Oliver had to nag me to learn to play the cello,” says his mother Naomi Aldort, an internationally published parenting advice columnist and author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Naomi says, “It’s my philosophy to wait until they nag the way they do for a candy, and then I know it’s the child’s passion, not mine.”

Having previously studied under Philharmonica Northwest conductor Roupen Shakarian, Oliver is currently studying cello with world renowned cellist Lynn Harrell. “Oliver has distinguished himself as an outstanding cellist because of his unique ability to empathize with the composer,” she says. “Oliver easily outshines many of my graduate level students and never ceases to amaze me.”

While he is now the principal cellist of the Northwest Chamber Youth Orchestra in Seattle, to broaden his musical base he is also playing with several chamber groups, most of them as a cellist and one as a pianist.

Oliver’s days are typically spent with music on his own initiative. You can find him practicing, improvising, listening, conducting, playing by ear, or playing from symphonic or operatic scores most hours of the day. A break from practice is often piano improvisation, sight-reading or conducting. Other loves of his are his cat Beethoven, reading, swimming, ping-pong, hiking and sightseeing.

Visit Oliver Aldort’s website at http://www.oliveraldort.com .

Lennon Aldort is a 19-year-old self-taught pianist and composer. Lennon grew up on Orcas Island, Washington. He started playing the piano on his own at the age of three when he began playing by ear, hands together, pieces by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Schumann. At age five he began improvising on his own without having had any lessons. He began composing his first pieces for the piano at age seven, and had completed two symphonies by age thirteen. He conducted a movement of his own symphony at age fourteen. His 2nd symphony, first movement, was performed by the Academy Chamber Orchestra in Seattle in summer 2009.

Although Lennon has never had any lessons on the piano, his musical education has included violin lessons, playing in youth orchestras, composition lessons, and a few conducting and theory lessons. He studied in British Columbia, Canada, at the Academy in Vancouver and at the Victoria Conservatory. He has also studied one semester in the New England Conservatory. Lennon’s music has been compared to Rachmaninoff and George Winston.

Homeschooled from the beginning, Lennon has always been encouraged to follow his own interests and passions.

Lennon is currently living in Seattle, Washington. Because he has an extremely well rounded background and education in music, he is available to be hired for a variety of music related composition, arranging and performing jobs. His main interest is in film composing and solo piano improvisation. In April 2008, Lennon produced his first CD which is available on Amazon. His second recording, “Melodies from Heaven,” was released in May 2009 and is also available on Amazon.

Lennon Aldort’s debut CD is a collection of seven solo piano improvisations, invented on the spot during the recording sessions, taking piano improvisation to a whole new level. He developed his improvisational technique on his own, and his music is flowing with rich melodies and harmonies that come directly from the fingers and spirit of this amazing youth. On his second album, every piece overflows with beauty, richness and intensity. The opening track “Serenade for an Angel,” is the only composition on the album. Tracks two through four are improvisations based on Lennon’s original melodies. The rest of the album is 100% spontaneous improvisation, beginning with the haunting interlude “Solitude,” which leads into the final two astounding masterpieces.

Visit Lennon Aldort’s website at http://www.lennonaldort.com .

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