Latron is a born musician with perfect pitch. He plays piano with such feeling you would never guess that he lives what appears to be a non-relational life: he follows an extremely rigid schedule in lock-step, and possesses no language for social exchange.
If you step too close to Latron, he might warn you away from him by singing the chorus of the Beatles song, Get Back. But he will not use words—ever—except to parrot other people’s phrases now and then, when asked. The only time he reveals himself is at the piano, composing or playing.
Music provides the twenty-something-year-old musician not only with a tool for his own self-regulation, but a means to experience empathy. While performing, Latron enters a world where he can interact with people, showing awareness of others and their reactions.
The pianist’s friend and long-time mentor, Betsey Zenk Nuisbeh, says that music allows Latron to really care, and to express his feelings in genuine relationship with others. She compares the endings of his performance pieces to a Shakespearean death, going on and on. “Latron is really into how his audience is feeling and how they are interpreting what he is playing,” she says. “He doesn’t just play the notes on the page.”