One of the world’s greatest musicians is no longer silenced.
After two decades of crippling limitations, Brazilian classical pianist João Carlos Martins has spent 2020 getting back to grips with his beloved Bach after being fitted with a pair of specially designed bionic gloves at the end of last year.
Moments after taking to the keys to play the “Adagio” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D minor (which takes its melody from Alessandro Marcello’s Oboe Concerto in the same key), the 80-year-old maestro was overcome with emotion, as captured in a now-viral video posted on his Instagram.
Considered one of the great interpreters of Bach’s music, the pianist and conductor had retired last March after two-dozen surgeries to combat pain from a degenerative disease and a series of accidents, according to the Associated Press. His dexterity issues had forced him to work mostly as a conductor since the early 2000s.
“After I lost my tools, my hands, and couldn’t play the piano, it was as if there was a corpse inside my chest,” Martins told the outlet.
Created by the industrial designer Ubiratan Bizarro Costa using exoskeleton technology often applied for spinal injuries, the “magic” gloves “bump Martins’ fingers upward after they depress the keys.”
He now hopes to play Carnegie Hall — for the first time in 60 years — in 2021, The Times reported.