W's Story





    W first burst upon the world in the pages of Life Magazine in June, 1945, when he graduated from Yale at the age of 14. He had said his first sentence at the age of 6 months ("Put on another record"). His parents, who were Russian-born lawyers, then began to work with him. He finished his first-grade reader by the age of 12 months, and was reading math and chemistry texts at 4. When he was 22 months, his mother heard a piano rendition of "The Hungarian Rhapsody" on the radio. Then she heard it again. W had remembered it, and was playing it by ear. When W was six, he started public school, where he was placed in the upper fifth grade the first day. But after six weeks, he was withdrawn from school. His teachers said that, like most highly gifted children, he asked too many questions and volunteered too many answers. For the next four years, his parents home-schooled him until he was 10, when he entered Western Reserve University. He spent two years there and then transferred to Yale, graduating, as mentioned above, at age 14. After graduation, he attended the Juilliard School of Music to further his goal of becoming a composer. After a few years in New York, he returned to his home town, where the Symphony Orchestra presented one or more of his compositions. Of course, in the era of the 1950's, the world was a-rockin' and a-rollin' and a-shuckin' and a-jivin', and they didn't take enthusiastically to W's chef d'ouvres. At some point, he set composing aside (at least as a career) and enrolled in the Harvard Medical School. He then taught physiology in a medical school until, I suspect, his retirement a few years ago. (I need to insert the cautionary note that I'm recalling all this from exposures ~fifty years ago, and I might be unwittingly twisting some details in the telling.)

Update: W is currently retired from his medical school teaching job, and is involved in neurological research  Interestingly, V had W as a pedagogue while V was in medical school, and they became friends through their common love of great music.