A BLIND pianist described as an 'autistic savant' is bringing his extraordinary show to Wantage.

Derek Paravicini and his quartet will be showing why they have won fans around the globe at the Beacon, Wantage, on Thursday, December 14.

The show, being promoted by Wantage's own Opera Unmasked, comes hot on the heals of the quartet's successful debut on the BBC’s ‘In Tune’.

James Mitchell of Opera Unmasked said: "These four stunningly talented young musicians combine to create a unique sound, portraying a kaleidoscope of emotions – now achingly sad, now humorous, now infused with warmth – and all shot through with a fiery virtuosity.

"Derek Paravicini Quartet are a musical chameleon, able to change their sonic palette to suit any occasion, with the breathtaking new takes on classic songs and jazz standards, and a repertoire from ragtime to Radiohead, from Irving Berlin to the Beatles, from Cole Porter to Coldplay."

Derek Paravicini, the man at the centre of the fuss, was born prematurely, at 25 weeks, in 1979.

His blindness was thought to have been caused by an overdosage of oxygen in a neonatal intensive care unit.

This also affected his developing brain, resulting in his severe learning disability with autistic symptoms.

Despite the obvious and overwhelming challenges, the young Derek started to teach himself the piano when he was two years old.

He first shot to fame when he was nine, playing jazz with the Royal Philharmonic Pops Orchestra at the Barbican.

Many TV appearances followed in the UK and overseas, including Japan, Germany and Australia, and three times on CBS’s prestigious 60 Minutes show in the USA.

He has now performed in venues ranging from Ronnie Scott’s renowned jazz club in London to the Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and in Phoenix, Arizona, for Mohammad Ali. He has performed twice at Buckingham Palace.

In 2011, he performed Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue alongside a piano concerto written specially for him at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Mr Mitchell said: "Derek is blind, autistic and has severe learning difficulties, yet is one of the most extraordinary pianists and musical entertainers of his generation.

"Dubbed ‘The Human iPod’ in the States, he has a repertoire of tens of thousands of pieces – all learnt very rapidly, just by listening.

"There is so much more to Derek than an iPod, though; beneath the quiet charm lies a fiery, creative musician, whose astonishing improvisations and dazzling technique have wowed audiences all over the world, with over a million hits on Youtube and another million on TED.

"Anyone who has ever wanted to play a musical instrument should see this and marvel at how he’s overcome incredible challenges."

Simon Vincent, president of the Hilton hotel group, is another fan.

He once said: "The Paravicini Quartet provide outstanding entertainment. Hearing them for the first time, they just blew me away."

Derek Paravicini Quartet will perform at the Beacon, Wantage, on Thursday, December 14.

Tickets, £15, are available from the Beacon, Wantage on 01235 763456 or from osj.org.uk. Proceeds in aid of Music for Autism.

Find out more at derekparaviciniquartet.com