Ainan Cawley, 14, whose roots go back to Mayo, has contributed a musical composition and piano performance to a charity album for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed more than 6,000 lives in the Philippines.
He is the son of Irishman Valentine Cawley and Singaporean Syahidah Osman, an ambidextrous portrait artist. Born in Singapore, Ainan exhibited precocious abilities from a very young age, crawling at four months and walking upright at six months, a feat repeated by younger brothers Fintan and Tiarnan.
Ainan passed his O Level in chemistry at the age of seven and is currently studying at university in Malaysia, where he now lives with his parents and two brothers.
He was hailed as the world’s cleverest child at the age of eight and was featured in a documentary The World’s Cleverest Child and Me, for Channel 4.
“No child prodigy in human history has shown as many gifts as Ainan shows,” says his father Valentine, who was himself a gifted child.
“He is a scientist, mathematician, computer programmer, self-taught pianist and composer, film score composer, film writer, director, and editor.”
Ainan is regarded as an ‘omnibus’ prodigy, a child with multiple talents who shows gifts across a wide spectrum, as his father explains: “Ainan is proving to be one of the few omnibus prodigies, in human history.
“He has long been known for his scientific gifts, in chemistry, maths, computer programming and other sciences, but in the past couple of years he has emerged, also, as a self- taught pianist and composer of music.”
Ainan learned to play Beethoven at the age of 12, mastering the classical repertoire within six months. Since then he has shown a talent for composition and wrote the score for Reflection, a 15-minute noir thriller movie he wrote, in which his father acts.
Valentine, 46, plays an Interpol agent in search of missing girls believed to be abducted by a maniacal killer.
“When he was 12, he scored the music for Reflection, which premiered at the Vilnius International Film Festival, in 2013,” says the proud father. “This made him the youngest film score composer in the world. The release of Renaissance, on this charity album, makes him also a very young recording artist and professional composer.”
Valentine, an actor and writer who grew up in Mayo, says his son is an entirely self-taught pianist and composer.
“Ainan’s been composing tunes on a daily basis since he started playing the piano and so far we’ve recorded over 100 tunes, some of which are complete works.”