To the world, he may seem like any other nine-year-old boy, but Sami Gershenhorn is different. He has, what he likes to call, a “superpower”.
Sami was born with autism, which allows him to view the world differently than most people. And while the world may see autism as a weakness, Sami has been able to turn it into his very own superpower. One that will change the world.
This is his story.
Nine-year-old Sami has a unique gift. A musical gift that was discovered when he was two and a half years-old tapping out Mozart’s Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. When he was five, his parents enrolled him at the New Music School with founder Francisco Ybarra to begin formal training. After a few short months, it was clear to Francisco that Sami had an amazing ear and gift towards music. Since the age of six, Sami has performed over 20 recitals and has formally performed in cities throughout the world.
At age nine and a half, Francisco and Sami agreed to proceed with making his first public performances as a professional pianist and composer, participating in national and international competitions, and preparing for his debut recital for 2020. Sami has an incredible team who have helped him reach his full potential, led by Francisco Ybarra, around him, Mary Sauer (retired pianist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Jeffrey Panko, and Lia Kim.
Sami is a strong advocate for autism. Although he has been teased by kids in school he doesn’t let that affect him. Instead, he holds his head up high and he tells others that he is proud that he has autism.
“Watching Sami play reminds me of how important the piano has been in my life. There’s nothing like the feeling of being free, if only for a moment, of everything when you feel one with music.” -Jon Schmidt
“There is an inherent spirituality to music. That’s why it is so powerful. It ignites the spirit inside us — who we truly are. And that spirit is eternal and limitless. It isn’t hindered by our mind or our body unless someone or something convinces us that it should be. Sami is living proof of this spiritual principle. (When I play the cello it sometimes feels like the strings vibrate all the way to my core so that they resonate with my soul. Sami has found this too.)”
We’re huge fans of Sami. We see him as a powerful advocate, not only for autism, for the piano, and for music education, but also for positivity and the kind of attitude we should all have. We’re behind him all the way and we hope you can join us too. Sami has asked us all to donate to Els for Autism. Sami chose “Els for Autism” as his first professional performance opportunity came from Els for Autism and SAP Autism at Work.
We think Sami will change the world with his "superpower". You can follow his story on Instagram, YouTube or at SamiGershenhornMusic.com.