“What gives the American pianist, Justin Kauflin, another edge over his rivals is his soulfulness ... This is a musician who wants to do more than make you admire his virtuosity" -THE TIMES
Justin Kauflin is an award-winning jazz pianist, composer, producer and educator. He is featured in the film, "Keep On Keepin' On" for which he also scored, directed by friend and fellow musician, Al Hicks (Al Hicks Films)
He has 10 published recordings as leader or co-leader: Justin Kauflin Trio Live at Sam First, Flow Freely (w/Jacob Collier), Standards (w/T.Fonnesbaek), Coming Home, Silent Night, Synesthesia (w/T. Fonnesbaek), Christmas Candy, Dedication, Introducing Justin Kauflin, and Justin Kauflin Live at Broad EDYE).
He collaborated on 27 albums as sideman and composed & performed film score for full-length documentaries: My Sister Liv, Reflection - A Walk with Water, Keep On Keepin' On; for the trailer and audiobook 12 Notes on Life and Creativity by Quincy Jones; for There With Care promotional videos from 2016-2022, and contributed to the Nickelodeon movie Blues Big City Adventure (2022).
The Justin Kauflin Trio toured extensively in Europe from 2014 through 2019. As a Jazz Ambassador (US State Department & VSA), Justin gave concerts and workshops stateside and abroad, as well as increase disability awareness to promote accessibility for the visually-impaired.
The 2020 pandemic gave rise to several live-streamed projects which will continue indefinitely.
In addition to creating new sounds and music, Justin is now on faculty at the Governor's School for the Performing Arts Norfolk, VA (Jazz Program).
Justin Kauflin is a Yamaha Artist and Quincy Jones Artist.
Justin was diagnosed with exudative retinopathy, with knife-like folds enveloping the macula in both eyes, at 7 months of age. He received services in physical and cognitive therapy at age 2 and began learning Braille in 5th grade through the Public School Systems in Maryland and Virginia. After undergoing 13 surgeries between the ages of 5-11, he lost all vision. Subsequent surgeries include the enucleation of both eyes. Itinerant Vision & Vocational Rehab Services taught "Orientation & Mobility" with the white cane and additional grades of Braille (literary, music & math).
Throughout his time at William Paterson University, he obtained an invaluable service through the National Library Service of the Library of Congress which delivers brailled classical scores upon request, free of charge.
Following graduation from WPU he moved to Brooklyn, NY which spurred him to attend The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ, training 24/7 for a month with a black lab named Candy. Justin and Candy navigated through NYC's subways and sidewalks, and on trains, busses, and planes stateside and abroad. Candy quietly attended every performance and recording session for an incredible 12 years.
Descriptive Video Services (DVS) has made the whole 'movie-going' experience enjoyable, and increasingly more companies are incorporating DVS to make shows accessible to the blind (Netflix). The ADA Act (Americans with Disabilities) has made travel and restaurant-going less prohibitive, though most car services and taxis in NY do not abide by it! The U.S. Department of State 'Jazz Ambassadorship,' which incorporated "Disability Awareness" into their Jazz Week Tour, sends an encouraging note to countries lacking assistive programs along with world-class jazz performances and student workshops. In addition to these services & programs, companies like Apple (built-in screen readers & GPS on their phones), Native Instruments/Komplete Kontrol & Avid Sibelius (accessible music production & software) have enabled Justin to live, travel and work as independently, safely and enjoyably as possible.
for the blind musician/producer
"To find a music where it doesn't matter whether you can see or not made a big impact. It was exciting to be on equal footing with my peers" -JK IN THE VIRGINIAN PILOT
Video: Justin Kauflin explains how the accessibility features of Komplete Kontrol have enhanced his music-making. Watch as he talks about new controls in addition to his work with Quincy Jones and Grammy award-winning artist, Derrick Hodge.
Video: Justin Kauflin Q&A at the Library of Congress about the National Library Service and the braille music it provides, free of charge!
Video: The Seeing Eye promotional video and its history of providing guide dogs for the blind for almost 100 years!
Built-in accessibility features such as screen readers and audible GPS are life-changing for visually-impaired/blind individuals
AVID and Berklee Music have collaborated to develop software for accessible music notation and scoring programs (Sibelius)
Native Access - One in every 20 Komplete Kontrol users take advantage of accessibility features for the visually-impaired.
Dr. Joel Snyder is known internationally as one of the world's first "audio describers," a pioneer in the field of audio description, making theater events, museum exhibitions, and media accessible to people who are blind or are vision-impaired
Dancing Dots offers technology, educational resources and training to assist blind and low vision individuals to read, write and record their music