The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced Kids on Keys & Dueling Pianos – an event to benefit Autism Awareness – featuring Stormin’ Norman” Seldin, three young piano prodigies and the amazing Steinway & Sons “Spirio” Grand Piano on Saturday, May 5th, 2018 at 8 PM in Pollak Theatre.
“Stormin’ Norman” Seldin is a genuine local legend; one whose impact on the Jersey Shore’s homegrown music scene cannot be overstated. Having staked out a career as a singer, songwriter, musician, bandleader, promoter and record label owner when he was still in his teens, Seldin has performed for audiences up and down the East Coast for more than 50 years – laying much of the groundwork for what would come to be known as the Sound of Asbury Park (SOAP), becoming the youngest member of the American Federation of Musicians at the age of thirteen, and along the way introducing listeners to a big young talent by the name of Clarence Clemons.
Stormin’ Norman will take the bench at the Steinway and Sons Model D (furnished for the occasion by Jacobs Music of Lawrenceville) for a soulful set of originals and classic covers drawn from his decades-spanning career and encyclopedic musical memory. As a special treat, he’ll be joined by a fellow Shore area favorite entertainer – pianist, vocalist and ace accompanist Vance Villastrigo – for a set-within-a-set that could only be called “Dueling Pianos.”
The show will also feature the talents of Taksh Gupta, Elizabeth Williams and Andy Milsten, whose collective credits include winning Steinway competitions and Golden Key Awards, appearing at the Merkin Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, and at the Musikverein with renowned pianist Lang Lang.
14-year-old Elizabeth Williams has been playing piano for nine years. At age seven, she entered her first international competition and has since performed at music halls including the Merkin Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall in the big apple. At age nine, she was the only pianist accepted to The Julliard School’s Music Advancement Program. Williams was one of 10 pianists selected from around the world to participate in the 2015 Allianz Junior Music Camp in Vienna, Austria where she performed at the Haus der Musik, and in a master class at the Musikverein with renowned pianist Lang Lang. She is currently studying piano and violin at Manhattan School of Music Precollege.
14-year-old Andy Milsten was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum at age three. He has had a variety of interests in his 14 years, with his latest passion being music. In the 4th grade, Milsten first expressed his desire to play the trumpet, and in the 7th grade, he became interested in the music of John Williams.  He listened to all of Williams’ movie themes on YouTube, and tried to play the themes on his trumpet and then on the keyboard. He then developed a love of Beethoven, and taught himself “Für Elise” on the piano with a little help from YouTube. Milsten was accepted into the New York Symphony Orchestra last summer. He has since taught himself Beethoven’s “Pathétique Sonata,” and has been practicing works by Mozart and Chopin. Milsten has also expanded his interest beyond the classical genre – with a little Billy Joel.
9-year-old Taksh Gupta started participating in piano competitions at age five and has won several awards in the last four years. Gupta is a two-time first prize-winner of the NJMTA Fall Young Musicians Competition, a three-time High Honors recipient at NJMTA Spring Audition, and much more. He has performed at venues including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, Rutgers University, Rider University and Stockton University. Music has always been a big part of his Gupta’s life, and he enjoys listening to classical, jazz and Indian music. Taksh is committed to helping society through his music by taking part in fundraising events, like Children Helping Children Performathons to support Ronald McDonald House. He has also performed for local nursing homes.
Capping off the concert, ticketholders will be able to see Steinway & Sons “Spirio” Grand Piano in action. The Steinway & Sons Spirio is the world’s finest high-resolution player piano. A masterpiece of artistry and engineering Spirio will play pieces from Vladimir Horowitz, Lang Lang, and George Gershwin live to the audience. Frank DiCopoulos will emcee the event.