Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He produces the Café Concerts series and the podcast/show Conducting Business. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
Adrian Romoff, 9-Year-Old Pianist, Makes His Mark on Reality TV, YouTube
Friday, August 15, 2014 - 05:00 PM
Adrian Romoff, the nine-year-old pianist who parlayed early classical training into a showy reality TV act, departed this week from "America's Got Talent" on NBC.
But before he was sent home in the elimination round, Romoff, who lives near Atlanta, GA, had a remarkable two-month run. He delivered renditions of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, discussed how he skipped five grades in school, and hammed it up with the panel of celebrity judges (Howie Mandel, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum and Mel B).
While fans were somewhat divided on his performances, the show fueled his notoriety on YouTube, with one clip garnering nearly 7 million views. This performance starts at 1:23.
Romoff joins a line of pre-teen performers who have found a classical niche on televised talent contests, among them, the singers Jackie Evancho ("America's Got Talent") and Amira Willighagen ("Holland's Got Talent"). Along with recording deals and television appearances, they have stoked an often spirited debate about the benefits and drawbacks of such notoriety at an early age.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Romoff will be entering Juilliard's Pre-College Division this fall. Below is a video of Romoff in a more traditional guise, playing Beethoven's Sonata No. 17 and Chopin's C-Sharp minor Nocturne.
Watch the videos and tell us what you think of Romoff's performances in the comments box below.