Concert pianist and composer Jennifer Lin was only 14 when she performed at TED, drawing tears with her extraordinary improvisation.

Why you should listen

A student of the Yamaha Music Education System from the age of 4, pianist Jennifer Lin has an unusual talent for improvisation. Speaking at TED, she compared her creative process to drawing a comic, and admitted that the state of "flow" -- when she is able produce beautiful music instantly -- cannot be forced.

Her virtuoso performances, particularly the improvisations, are profoundly moving, and -- even via podcast -- have been known to reduce listeners to tears. As one blogger recorded, "I was listening to a presentation by a 14-year old girl named Jennifer Lin who plays the piano like whoa ... I wasn't expecting it, and when she was a minute or two into the piece, I was literally crying in the crowded subway car." Lin was featured on ABC World News Tonight as Person of the Week and also appeared on a "Little Geniuses" segment on Oprah, where Winfrey declared her "a miracle prodigy."

What others say

“An exciting young talent who wants to touch the world.” — Peter Jennings, ABC World News Tonight

Jennifer Lin’s TED talks

Jennifer Lin on the TED Blog

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

Continue reading

Your brain on improv

March 5, 2008

Two Johns Hopkins researchers have isolated the part of the brain that is most active during improv — the part that Jennifer Lin accesses during her TEDTalk performance, and that Robin Williams used the other night during the BBC debate at TED in Monterey. Setting up six right-handed jazz pianists inside an fMRI, researchers Charles […]

Continue reading