Arthritis Ambassador Byron Janis: Birthday Tribute
March 20, 2013
Longest Serving Arthritis Foundation Ambassador turns 85
Maestro Byron Janis is internationally renowned as one of the world's greatest pianists, making his orchestral debut at age 15 with Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra. The following year he was chosen by Vladimir Horowitz as his first student, and at 18 he became the youngest artist ever signed to a contract by RCA Victor Records. His outstanding performances and many recordings led him to become celebrated all over the world.
However, since 1973, Janis hid the psoriatic arthritis that had developed in both hands and wrists, while he performed and released two highly-acclaimed CDs. He broke his silence in 1986 when, following a performance at the White House, Nancy Reagan announced that he would become a spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation as its National Ambassador to the Arts.
Now at 85, he continues to bring hope and encouragement to millions. Last year, Janis was presented with four prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards, including the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute at New York's Lincoln Center. He was also named the first Presidential Advisor to that Institute and took part in the Joint Chief's Roundtable for the Americans for the Arts Foundation, which focused on the wellness of our veterans returning home from active duty. Today, he continues to give special performances around the world, along with workshops for children with arthritis.
Learn more about Byron’s relationship with the Arthritis Foundation: