News and Events
Pepperdine's Favorite Musical Savant is Subject of a TV First on November 23
For the first time in its history, CBS's 60 Minutes will air a third profile on the same subject. Rex Lewis-Clack, a 13-year-old musical savant and Malibu resident, was first profiled by the celebrated news magazine when he was only 7. He recently completed the filming for his third profile, to air on CBS this Sunday, November 23.
A portion of the segment was filmed at Pepperdine University, where Sara Banta, visiting professor of music, tutors Lewis-Clack every week. Labeled a musical savant, Lewis-Clack has an extremely rare combination of blindness, autism, and musical genius. The complexity of his development simultaneously as a child and musician takes the study of the brain—along with the associated humanity and societal implications of it—into uncharted territory.
As a Malibu resident, Lewis-Clark has been studying with Banta at Pepperdine for about four years. She calls his ability to play by ear "astounding." "We are just trying to increase his piano skills and expand his repertoire," she says. "So many other things in his life have come together as a result of his music, so I feel so happy to be a part of this."
Lewis-Clack has wowed crowds many times at Pepperdine, including a performance for students at Convocation. "Our students were wonderful to Rex when he performed for them, and gave him a warm standing ovation at the end," recalls Jeff Pippin, senior vice president and chief investment officer at Pepperdine. "I think he shows us that one or two closed doors, while challenging, can lead to many other open doors that can take us where we never thought we could go. His spirit of optimism is always contagious, and his talent never ceases to inspire."
His third profile on 60 Minutes runs in conjunction with the recent release of his mother Cathleen Lewis' book, REX: A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music That Transformed Their Lives (Thomas Nelson Publishers, October 2008).
For more information about the 60 Minutes interview, go to the CBS News Web site.