Arts and Culture | Local

Ethan Bortnick, child musical prodigy, to play Tucson

Ethan Bortnick
Ethan Bortnick

A normal to-do list for a 13-year-old probably wouldn’t include a 30-city global headliner musical tour, but Ethan Bortnick is no average Jewish teen.

Bortnick’s ability to enthrall audiences with his uncanny musical ear and astonishing talent on the piano has led him to be named as one of Oprah’s “All Time Smartest, Most Talented Kids.” He recorded his first PBS national television concert at age 9 with an accompanying headline tour, “Musical Time Machine.” His new tour follows his second PBS special, “Ethan Bortnick Live in Concert: The Power of Music.”

Besides becoming a certified Guinness World Record title-holder as “The World’s Youngest Solo Musician to Headline His Own Tour” and the youngest performer to headline a Las Vegas show, he’s also performed with Sir Elton John, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, Josh Groban, Santana and more.

Tucson will be Bortnick’s third stop on his 30-city tour after concerts in Fort Lauderdale, his hometown, and California. So far, he told the AJP, “I’m having lots of fun.” Despite his youth, Bortnick, the son of Ukrainian immigrants, speaks with the confidence and clarity of a seasoned musician. Describing his tour, he expresses his sincere love of “all types of music. There’s a big variety in the show, from classical to jazz, from variety to pop.”

He claims not to favor one particular music genre over another. His favorite part of touring? “Meeting new people, definitely. I’m having a ton of fun.”

Irish singer and actor Damian McGinty of the hit TV series “Glee” will join Bortnick on tour. It will be McGinty’s first tour since his participation in the group Celtic Thunder. Dave Rosenthal, Billy Joel’s musical director, served as Bortnick’s musical director for this show.

During his shows, Bortnick performs cover songs and his own compositions, and compose songs on the spot using audience stories.

Bortnick finds time to balance his musical career with school. He attends what he calls “regular school” about 25 percent of the time, and does much of his coursework remotely.

In addition to his career and education, Bortnick is a passionate philanthropist and has raised over $30 million for nonprofits and charities.

He has special advice for kids who seek to excel in music: “Really, really listen to the music. Work hard at it. See how it can affect people’s lives.”

The concert will take place at Pima Community College Center for the Arts Proscenium Theatre, West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road, on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m. Tickets, $39, are available at