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Rex Lewis-Clack and Cathleen Lewis Inspirational Mother and Son Featured on 60 Minutes
Born blind, Rex was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, and then labeled a musical genius (piano) by the age of seven, when musicologists became astounded by Rex's ability to play back complex piano pieces he had heard only once, and then transpose them into other keys or improvise off themes with little effort. Considered a prodigious musical savant, Rex ranks as one of less than 50 people throughout history to combine blindness, intellectual disability, and prodigious musical ability.
At 7, his abilities (coupled with disability) came to the attention of CBS's 60 Minutes, who made the unprecedented decision to follow his life and development. 60 Minutes aired Rex's first profile in 2003 called "Musically Speaking," which was followed by two subsequent profiles, each titled "Rex," the first in 2005, and then a second in 2008 (winner of 2008 Edward R. Murrow Award as Best Feature in a Newsmagazine). Rex has been sharing his life and piano gift with select audiences around the world since the age of 7, inspiring YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) audiences with his unique life and gifted piano playing and helping raise funds and awareness for select causes such as autism, blindness or other disabilities. In 2006, he was the winner of the “Winspiration Award” in Germany for taking the hand he’s been dealt in life and using it to not only “win” but also for “inspiring” others to do the same.
Other media coverage includes a 2011 Science Channel profile on a documentary series called "Ingenious Minds" as one of eight segments, each featuring an exceptional life (another segment featured renowned autism expert Temple Grandin). Rex was also featured alongside British Savant Derek Paravicini in the highly acclaimed British Production (in conjunction with Discovery Health) called "The Musical Genius" for the series "Extraordinary People." The profile aired under the title "Musical Savants" on Discovery Health Channel in 2006.
Rex's biography Rex--A Mother, Her Autistic Child and the Music that Transformed their Lives, by Cathleen Lewis was published by Thomas Nelson in 2008 and subsequently translated into seven foreign languages.
In 2011 Rex was a scholarship recipient to attend two prestigious European piano academies, The International Piano Academy in Freiburg, Germany and The Mozarteum in Salzburg, Germany where he studied alongside gifted piano students from around the world.
In 2013, Rex and Cathleen launched their Foundation Rex and Friends, which supports musical education for individuals who are blind or autistic. Rex has been fortunate to have had support throughout his life, which allowed him to develop his unique piano gift, and by extension then fostered critical development in other areas of his life. Now his Mission through his Foundation is to give that same opportunity to others to "grow their music" and "grow through music."