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Child becomes accomplished pianist at age 9

February 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Roll over Beethoven, there's a new kid in town. He's 9 years old and calling him a prodigy wouldn't do him justice. He is a young pianist and composer who already has his own Web site and his own legion of fans. If you give Ethan Bortnick a microphone, he'll entertain you. But if you give him a piano, he'll take your breath away.

Ethan is a nine-year-old musical phenomenon from Florida. He is a third grader whose fingers fell in love with a toy piano when he was just four-years-old.

"I was just begging my parents for piano lessons and they kept saying, 'No, you're still in diapers,'" explained Ethan.

"He was asking us a lot and we sort of ignored it," said Gene Bortnick, Ethan's Dad.

"One day I just heard a Mozart piece and I just started playing it," said Ethan.

"All of a sudden, I heard him in the living room playing a little keyboard with five keys on it and we were like, 'What was that?'" said Gene.

Ethan doesn't just play music. He also composes it. It's not very often a nine-year-old gets to play at concert halls, especially one at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles but that's no big deal for Ethan. He's used to playing at some pretty spectacular places with some pretty names.

"Barbara Streisand, Celine Deon, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers," said Ethan as he listed the names of musicians he performed with before. "But we still need to stay humble."

And Ethan has plenty of people helping him stay humble, including his Dad.

"No one knows me by my name anymore. It's Ethan's Dad or, 'Aren't you Ethan's Dad?'" said Gene.

Even Ethan's four-year-old brother Nathan is getting into the act as he performs on stage looking more interested in cutting a rug than tickling the ivories. That's best left to Ethan, the boy with a big smile and the even bigger talent who likes one thing more than playing piano.

"I just like to make people happy," said Ethan.

That is a mission accomplished by an accomplished musician.


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