Moving Pictures: Cellist Describes Autism Experience with Music

“I am a citizen of the autism world. I liked creating a piece for the orchestra that told what it was like living in my world, using my only fluent language – music, and the words of my fellow traveler in autism, author Naoki Higashida.” – Adam Mandela Walden

26-year-old cellist Adam Mandela Walden shared some of his experiences with autism on From the Top’s Musicians with Disabilities Special. He has been working with Berklee College of Music’s Dr. Eugene Friesen on a special orchestral piece inspired by author Naoki Higashida’s book: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. The piece brings together Higashida’s words with music in a powerful way. We are thrilled to feature movements from this exciting work over the next month.

Today, we feature “Moving Pictures,” the fourth movement of “Excerpts from The Reason I Jump.” It is performed by soloist Adam Mandela Walden and Berklee World Strings, conducted by Eugene Friesen.

Thank you to Rosanne Walden and to the students of Berklee College of Music’s Production and Engineering: Orchestral Recording. Recorded at Berklee College of Music, Shames Scoring Stage.

This Daily Joy performance is part of From the Top’s Musicians with Disabilities Special Initiative. This Spring, From the Top is spotlighting young disabled and/or neurodivergent musicians who share their talents and tell their stories in their own words.


“By highlighting the creativity and passion of young people, Daily Joy offers real hope for the future and reminds us that great art is still being made all around the country.”


Music has the unique ability to bring joy to our lives – especially in the hands of young people. Daily Joy is a reminder of music’s power to uplift, inspire, and unite.

Daily Joy is a project of From the Top. It began in the very early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and continues today to offer a much-needed respite from the anxiety and worry that we encounter in the world.

From the Top is a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the stories and artistry of young musicians through media and leadership programs. Learn more.

From the Top is grateful to the Richard K. Lubin Family Foundation for their generous support of Daily Joy.

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