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Pianist Ellis Larkins Dies

Ellis Larkins, a virtuoso pianist hailed in his teens as “the Negro Prodigy”, died Sun., Oct. 1 of pneumonia at Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore. He was 79.

Larkins was born and raised in West Baltimore. Music pervaded his everyday life. His father, a janitor, played violin in the City Colored Orchestra. His mother played piano and his sisters and brothers all sang or played an instrument. Larkins began learning to play when he was four, and at 12 he played for Eleanor Roosevelt at the National Urban League’s 25th Anniversary. But it wasn’t jazz Larkins played. It was the music of classical pianist and composer Moritz Moszkowski.

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