Pianist living with autism plays keyboard connected to University of Tampa's musical sculpture

TAMPA, Fla. - The minute Milosz Gasior presses his fingers to the keys of a piano, his talent immediately captures an audience.

But Saturday's performance was especially mesmerizing, because his keyboard was connected to the University of Tampa's one-of-a kind Ars Sonora musical sculpture.

The magnificent sound of chiming bells filled the courtyard outside Syke's chapel on campus, as Milosz Gasior played three very special pieces.

"The first piece is by a polish composer, so Milosz is representing our polish roots, and the second one is performed by another pianist with autism.," explained Bozena Gasior, his mother.

At 2 ½ years old, Milosz Gasior himself, was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Non-verbal for most of his young life, his family soon found that his ability to convey music notes from his head, to his heart, to a piano, was a gift.

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"He didn't talk for a longest time," recalled his mom. "Then, when he was 7 ½ I guided him to a piano, and when I pressed his fingers against the piano keys, he was surprised that, by pressing the keys, he was able to produce sounds. That was the beginning of our communication."

It was also the beginning of a triumphant musical journey.

Now 21 years old, and a graduate of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Milosz Gasior is the program’s first piano major with autism.

He's showcased his talents all over the world, from playing our favorite holiday tunes in Tampa International's main terminal, to performing at theaters and galas across the Bay Area like the Parc Center for Disabilities or Ruth Eckerd Hall, and even returning to his family's native country of Poland for festivals.

"The community truly opens their doors and their hearts to make it happen," Bozena Gasior said.

To help other families navigate their journey of a child diagnosed with autism, or even for anyone doing some self-searching, Bozena recently wrote and published a book called "I Heard the Light."

It details their experience of moving from Poland to the U.S. as a family, Milosz Gasior's diagnosis, and the tale of his incredible success. It can be found on Amazon as an audiobook, ebook, paperback, and hard copy. The Polish version will be published soon.

"This message will be shared, that, you know, this young person, overcoming such challenges every single day through his hard work, can achieve this," Bozena Gasior said.

For more on where to find her book, and where Milosz Gasior will play next, click here.

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