Monday, April 27, 2009

Nathaniel Ayers and the Redemptive Power of Music

My wife and I saw the film "the Soloist" this past weekend, about a mentally ill musician, Nathaniel Ayers Jr., and the Los Angeles Times reporter, Steve Lopez, who befriended him.

Ayers was a gifted young musician who was accepted to the prestigeous Juilliard School in 1970. Due to his growing mental illness, he dropped out in his second year, eventually moving to Los Angeles where he lived on the street as a homeless person.

Ayers continued to play his music (Beehoven is his favorite) on the street, using half-broken and cast off instruments. Lopez, in need of a story to meet a reporting deadline, heard beautiful music one day as he walked in Los Angeles and found a rag-tag Ayers playing a violin in front of the statue of Ludwig van Beethoven. He interviewed Ayers and wrote a series of columns on this musician, which he later compiled into a book: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music. The book was then made into the film "The Soloist," starring Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez and Jamie Foxx as Nathaniel Ayers.

The film was interesting and I've ordered Lopez's book.

Below is a video from CBS that tells the story.

Watch CBS Videos Online

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