updated 09/22/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/22/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT
William Eddins, 15, took in stride a friend's affectionate preface to her yearbook salute to him last year: "To the shrimpiest boy in class." Then 5'1" and youngest of the graduates at Buffalo's Calasanctius Preparatory School (he skipped second and third grades), William last fall rejected four other college offers to become the youngest freshman at the University of Rochester's distinguished Eastman School of Music. Recalls piano department chairman David Burge: "He looked so small among our 200 auditioners I thought there must be some mistake." But William was among the 12 undergraduate piano students accepted, and he ended his first year on the honors list. His parents—William's father is a philosophy professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo and his mother has a Ph.D. in medical sociology—sold their house and moved to Rochester to be near their only child, who will live in an Eastman dorm next spring. At age 6 William started playing a piano his parents had bought at a garage sale, but music did not seem a potential calling until six years later, when his teacher, Yvar Mikhashoff of SUNY Buffalo, introduced him to Bach's D Minor Concerto. William now practices four hours a day and dreams of performing at Carnegie Hall. Away from the keyboard he is a tennis buff and sings in a church choir. He has no patience with the pop scene. "I've never gotten into that kind of music," he shrugs, "and I want to keep it that way."