One Man, Two Musicians



Kevin Gift is a classical pianist. In some circles, however, he’s known as electronic musician Wendel Patrick. This is no ordinary stage name, however.

Four years old when he started learning to read music, Gift got serious about piano at an early age. He burnt out early, too, taking a four-year hiatus until taking up the instrument again in college. After majoring in music at Emory University, he made a career for himself as a working concert pianist and music professor in Maryland.

After playing classical music and jazz all day long, though, he began to experiment with “computers and Chaos Pads, digital turntables and MIDI processors” after dark. He became an electronic DJ–or, rather, his musical alter ego Wendel Patrick did. Wendel Patrick was the name given to Gift’s twin brother, who died within a few days of their birth. He didn’t learn about Wendel’s existence until later in life, after feeling for so long that there might be someone else out there.

Gift continues to enjoy these two distinct musical identities, producing and performing both types of music. Some people know him as Kevin Gift, but others only know him by his dead brother’s name. Eerie.

(This story comes from the radio program The Signal, and pretty much everything they do is interesting, so much so that it was difficult to choose just one story to write about.)

Claire Caplan enjoys dotting Is and crossing Ts. She works for a public radio station in Baltimore, Maryland. More from this author →