This "60 Minutes" segment (text here) aired several years ago; it features Jay "Bluejay" Greenberg, a musical prodigy who was 12 years old when the program was filmed (his current biography is here).
"We are talking about a prodigy of the level of the greatest prodigies in history when it comes to composition," says Sam Zyman, a composer. "I am talking about the likes of Mozart, and Mendelssohn, and Saint-Sans." Zyman teaches music theory to Jay at the Juilliard School in New York City, where he's been teaching for 18 years.
"This is an absolute fact. This is objective. This is not a subjective opinion," says Zyman. "Jay could be sitting here, and he could be composing right now. He could finish a piano sonata before our eyes in probably 25 minutes. And it would be a great piece."
How is it possible? Jay told Pelley he doesn't know where the music comes from, but it comes fully written -- playing like an orchestra in his head.
"It's as if the unconscious mind is giving orders at the speed of light," says Jay. "You know, I mean, so I just hear it as if it were a smooth performance of a work that is already written, when it isn't...
Jay writes things he can't even play, and he says he wants to perfect his piano playing, even though he doesn't need the piano, or any instrument, to compose... Talented composers might write five or six symphonies in a lifetime. But Jay has written five at the age of 12.There is a bit of "hype" in the presentation, both from the parents and from the producers, but there is no doubt that this young man is a true prodigy, and as the text suggests, as I watched the video I couldn't help thinking back to the movie "Amadeus."
The word isn't used in the video or webpages, but I presume Jay Greenberg has a form of autism, which means that his brain is just like yours and mine... except for a couple extra or aberrant connections that just happen to result in previously-unwritten symphonic music playing in his head. It's a mind-boggling concept. Clearly he has a family situation that predisposed him to this manifestation of his capabilities, but one wonders how many other children there are in the world who experience this and can't express it.