“A rare gift: Music prodigy Rachel Flowers”

By BETH ADAMS  JAN 14, 2019

WXXI’s Beth Adams talks to musician Rachel Flowers and filmmaker Lorenzo Destefano.


When Rachel Flowers was born 15 weeks premature in 1993, she weighed just one and a half pounds. She lost her vision three months later due to a condition called retinopathy of prematurity. 

But when you talk to Rachel today, there’s no sense of loss, disability, or limitations. The 25-year old music prodigy’s world is vast and full of potential. By the time she was 4 years old, Rachel was playing Bach fugues on the piano seemingly with little effort. 

Now, with a flourishing music career, she composes her own songs and has befriended and sometimes performs with artists who have inspired her: Arturo Sandoval, Carl Palmer and Dweezil Zappa. 

Filmmaker Lorenzo Destefano first heard Rachel performing with a quartet at a club in Ventura, California in 2014. For the next two years, he filmed her life and work and made the documentary “Hearing is Believing,” which airs on WXXI-TV Friday, January 18 at 9 p.m. 

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with Rachel and Lorenzo. Rachel talks about creating music and what inspires her.

This story is part of Dialogue on Disability Week – a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies – in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series.