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March 7, 2012

Special needs pianist to perform at Indiana State on Tuesday

TERRE HAUTE — Brittany Maier, who is blind and autistic, will perform at Indiana State University at 7 p.m. Tuesday in University Hall Theater. She will be joined on-stage by her mother, Tammy, who will talk about their musical journey and advocacy for music and arts centers for people with special needs.

Born four months premature in April 1989, Maier weighed 1 pound and 5 ounces. Even though she was diagnosed blind, autistic and mentally disabled, her amazing musical talent surfaced when she began playing Schubert’s “Ave Maria” on a toy piano at age 6.

Able to duplicate a song after having heard it a few times, she memorized music with no limit to style, instrument or language in which it was recorded.

At age 10, after receiving formal music instruction at the University of South Carolina’s School of Music, Maier began composing her own original songs.

She released her first album “20/20” when she was just 12 years old. Her second CD, “A World of My Own,” was released through Barnes & Noble bookstores in 2006.

She has performed as a guest of honor at former New York Gov. George Pataki’s annual prayer breakfast, has entertained a crowd of 55,000 Mets fans at Shea Stadium, and has graced the stage of Carnegie Hall.

Now 22, Maier performs for her community and throughout New York on a regular basis. She educates children in schools, teens at college, and adults at conferences. She also lends herself nationally by traveling to charitable functions that raise awareness for autism as well as many other disability causes. She shows people they can overcome any obstacles in life they are presented with and still pursue their dream.

Maier’s mother, Tammy, has devoted her life to bringing about a positive and historic change in America for people with special needs. She has nourished her daughter’s love of music and ability to perform for audiences.

Through the process, Tammy Maier learned that across the nation no established music and art centers exist for people with special needs. Hence, The Brittany Maier and Friends Foundation was formed to provide instruction centers for the special needs community.

The performance is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Atrium of University Hall.

Maier’s performance is sponsored by the Bayh College of Education, Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Office of Communications and Marketing, Union Board and Residence Hall Association.

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