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From skid row to Disney Hall, and on to the White House

July 27, 2010 |  2:33 pm

Obamanat One of Los Angeles' best known musicians faced a tough but empathetic audience Monday: Nathaniel Ayers, the formerly homeless classical violinist, played the White House.

The occasion was a celebration on the back lawn of the presidential mansion to commemorate the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act 20 years ago. Ayers has known the kind of treatment the legislation is aimed at, having suffered from schizophrenia that led him to drop out of the Juilliard School as a young man and commence a life on the streets.

He was invited to come to Washington, D.C., for the event, meet President Obama and perform in a concert that was part of the celebration. Steve Lopez, whose Times columns about their friendship became a book and movie titled "The Soloist," accompanied Ayers on his trip and describes the day in his column.

-- Kelly Scott

Photo: Obama greets Ayers on Monday. Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza