Twelve year old Ethan Bortnick has moved audiences nationally and internationally as a pianist, composer, singer, entertainer, and a driven humanitarian, dedicated to combining his musical pursuits with his charity work. At three years of age, the Hollywood, Florida native begged his parents for piano lessons and discovered an uncanny ability to hear a song once and play it back note for note – the musical equivalent of a photographic memory.
Ethan has toured the world, connecting with diverse audiences in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Canada and Australia. In 2011, he made history as the youngest entertainer to headline a show in Las Vegas. Ethan was recently certified by the Guinness World Records as The World’s Youngest Solo Musician to Headline His Own Tour. He has also earned the distinction of being named the youngest musician to be endorsed by a premier instrument manufacturer through his Gibson Guitar/Baldwin Piano sponsorship.
When Ethan was five, his younger brother had three heart surgeries and that emotional time inspired him to use his musical talents to benefit charity. “I remember going to Miami Children’s Hospital and seeing a lot of sick children. I learned that some of these kids could not afford surgery so the hospital raised money for them. It made me want to help these kids,” Ethan explains.
Since then Ethan Bortnick has helped raise over $30,000,000 for nonprofits around the world. At these charity events he’s shared the stage with such legends as Elton John, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Beyonce, and Reba McEntire, among many others. In 2010 he joined some of music’s biggest names – including Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, the Black Eyed Peas, Justin Bieber, and Tony Bennett as the youngest of the all-star lineup that recorded We Are The World 25 For Haiti.
His deep musical knowledge, broad tastes, and staggering talents make his performances a treat for the whole family. Onstage, Ethan performs relaxing jazz, dazzling classical music, raise-the-roof rock n roll, and his own memorable originals. He knows hundreds of songs that he can instantly call up to memory. Just by looking out at the crowd and gauging their reactions to songs, Ethan can tailor a pleasing and enjoyable ‘in-the-moment’ performance. Sets can go from Beethoven to the Beatles to Bieber. It’s all a natural flow for Ethan, and he’s always relaxed before performances. “I don’t get nervous before a concert,” he says. “I usually play video games and as soon as they say Ladies and Gentlemen Please Welcome...I give the video game to my dad and run onstage.”
The piano whiz does not come from a musical family. He began at the age of three picking out melodies with one finger on an eight-note children’s keyboard. Around this time he pleaded with his parents to study on a real piano with formal lessons. He soaked up the music of such diverse artists and composers as Beethoven, Mozart, jazz pianist Bill Evans, Little Richard, and Elton John, and began writing original compositions at age five.
Ethan has been featured on many national television shows, including multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America and Oprah, where he was named one of Oprah’s All Time Smartest, Most Talented Kids! In 2010, Ethan made history as the youngest musician to create and host his own award-winning, nationally-televised concert special on PBS, which aired over 600 times on Public Television stations nationwide. Legend Quincy Jones has this to say of his songcraft: “Ethan’s imagination and ability to create music from stories is unbelievable.
Ethan completed shooting a full-length feature film called Anything Is Possible which was released in September 2013 to rave reviews. He co-wrote all of the songs in the film and scored all the background music; a soundtrack will be released simultaneously with the film. Ethan will star as Nathan, the main character, and the touching tale will reflect Ethan’s sense of optimism and his commitment to bring warmth and happiness to kids and families worldwide. It’s a fitting storyline for a boy who is on an epic music-career journey, but remains pure and humble when sharing his talents.
In December (2013), Ethan returns to Public Television with his second concert special “Ethan Bortnick Live in Concert: The Power of Music” – Recorded recently at a concert in front of over 2,000 fans, The Power of Music is a follow-up to Ethan’s successful 2010 PBS concert special. His special guests in the program are Damian McGinty of Glee and Celtic Thunder, and Grammy nominated vocalist Jane Monheit.
For Ethan, the most fulfilling aspect of success is bringing people joy. He says: “As long as the audience is enjoying the music, having fun, smiling, and dancing, I’m happy and I love it!”