Boston, MA (July 2006) — Two young pianists/composers will use their extraordinary talents to help find a cure for diabetes, a disease that struck one of them seven years ago. On the evening of August 4, Jason Kram Yeager, who has type 1 diabetes, and Ben Stepner will perform Four Hands for a Cure, a unique two-piano ensemble sponsored by M. Steinert & Sons and benefiting the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).
Recent graduates of the prestigious Milton Academy, the 19-year-olds will be performing classical jazz pieces and their own original works on two Steinway B Concert Grand pianos at Boston’s downtown Steinert Hall. A wine and cheese reception will follow the rare and special event. The evening’s proceeds, as well as a portion of the profits from the pianos sold at the event, will support the DRI’s efforts to cure Jason and millions of others living with diabetes.
“Until I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, the disease was foreign to me,” Jason said. Even though his mother, Dr. Kathy Kram, has diabetes, it wasn’t very visible to him as a child. “We got educated together on the newest schools of thought on gaining control of the disease, and it has always helped to know that she is going through it with me.”
Still, Jason found having type 1 diabetes to be a difficult adjustment, especially when it came to adhering to a strict schedule for meals and finding a private place at school to test his blood sugar and give himself insulin injections.
After his diagnosis, Jason’s grandparents, Eleanor and Harvey Kram of Tamarac, Florida, took a tour of the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami. Impressed with the research underway and convinced that the cure for their daughter and grandson would come from this world-renowned center, they started The Jason Fund to support one of the DRI’s research programs.
The Krams hosted private performances by their prodigy grandson in their home on various occasions. And just last year, Jason asked for donations to The Jason Fund in lieu of gifts at his graduation party. Now, proceeds from Four Hands for a Cure will be added to the $23,000 already collected in the fund.
Soon to begin the second of a five-year, two-degree program at Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music with majors in International Relations and Jazz Performance, Jason doesn’t feel that he has ever let diabetes hold him back musically or academically. He discovered his love of music at age 4 while playing his toy keyboard, and at age 7 he started lessons on an upright piano. In middle school, he began studying jazz, through which he realized his freedom to improvise. And when he hit high school, Jason got serious about performing and composing. He has led modern jazz, classical, orchestral, rock and funk groups. And in addition to the piano, he has studied clarinet and guitar, while dabbling with drums, among other instruments.
“The more types of music you can embrace, the better,” Jason said. “But I am a pianist, and at my heart and at my core is my love for improvisation.”
Jason dreams of incorporating his academic interests with his musical talents to “do something good.” He is off to a great start with Four Hands for a Cure.
For more information on the event or to make a donation to The Jason Fund, please visit www.diabetesresearch.org or call Vivian Handis with M. Steinert & Sons at 617.426.1900 x224.