Llyr Williams is a Welsh pianist who has worked with orchestras around the world, including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. He started playing piano at the age of seven, and passed Grades I – VIII with Distinction by age 11. His performances have won many awards, including the Critic’s Prize at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2002 and the Glyndwr Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales in 2009. He is clearly an intelligent man and a musical prodigy, but he has never publicly admitted to having autism.
Yes, I think Llywr Williams has autism or Asperger’s. I have a son with autism and recognize certain characteristics. He bows in a very precise manner, and seems to be following a ‘learnt’ manner when he enters or exits. This doesn’t apply to his playing, which is marvellous. I could also detect a kind of protective affection for him from the orchestral players.
I was at a recital Llyr Williams gave in Cardiff quite early in his career, and I remember noticing something unusual about the way he came on stage: he seemed sort of detached and uncertain, and I immediately thought “Aspergers”. But as you say, Vuyewela, his playing is another matter – I find it very personal, clear and committed.