List of music prodigies
This is a list of music prodigies, young children (at or under age 12) who displayed a talent in music deemed to make them competitive with skilled adult musicians. The list is sorted by genre and instrument.
- 1 Classical
- 2 Non-classical genres
- 3 Post-war genres
- 4 Indian Artists
- 5 See also
- 6 Further reading
- 7 References
Name Debut Notes Jackie Evancho 8 2nd place on America's Got Talent at age 10 Beverly Sills 12 Won on Major Bowes' Amateur Hour for the week of October 26, 1939, performed Gilbert and Sullivan by 16 Faryl Smith 12 Was a semi-finalist on Britain's Got Talent at age 12 Charlotte Church 11 She sang on the Big Big Talent Show at age 11
Piano and organ
Name Instrument(s) Debut Notes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano, violin 6 One of the most prolific composers of the Classical Era  Thomas Linley the Younger Piano, violin 7 (earliest recorded performance) Born the same year as Mozart; the two met in Italy and became friends Charles-Valentin Alkan Piano 6 At the age of seven, he won a first prize for solfège and prizes in piano, harmony, and organ; Luigi Cherubini, director of the Conservatoire, described his technique and ability as extraordinary Martha Argerich Piano 4 Orchestral debut at age eight  Kit Armstrong Piano 5 Concerto debut at eight; Morton Gould Young Composer Award for five consecutive years  Claudio Arrau Piano 5 Could read notes before letters  Daniel Barenboim Piano 7  Enrique Batiz Piano 5 Now a conductor  Emily Bear Piano 5 Child prodigy who composed and released her first piano album at age five. Vincenzo Bellini Piano 5 Began studying music theory at two, the piano at three, and by the age of five could apparently play well Georges Bizet Piano 9 Entered the Paris Conservatory at age nine Victor Borge Piano 8 Won a full scholarship to the Royal Danish Music Conservatory at age nine  Lili Boulanger Piano, violin, cello, harp Attended Louis Vierne's organ classes at the Paris Conservatoire at age six  Cameron Carpenter Organ 11 Performed J. S. Bach's complete The Well-Tempered Clavier from memory at age eleven. William Crotch Organ 3 Became a composer and first Principal of the Royal Academy of Music  Georges Cziffra Piano Entered the Franz Liszt Academy at age nine, after some four years performing in a traveling circus Per Enflo Piano 7 Won the Swedish competition for young pianists at age eleven in 1956 (and again in 1961) Richard Farrell Piano 4 Made his first radio broadcast at age four; at seven played his own composition (a lament on the death of an archbishop) in a public concert with the Wellington Symphony Orchestra  Carl Filtsch Piano 6 Composed concerto at thirteen; died at age fourteen  Horacio Gutiérrez Piano 11 First piano recital at age four. Orchestral debut at age 11 with the Havana Symphony. Johana Harris Piano 8 Composed works as early as age six and began her career as a concert pianist at age eight Felix Hell Organ 8 Became a church organist at age eight; won competitions at age nine; began recording and touring shortly thereafter Josef Hofmann Piano 10  Helen Huang Piano 8 Performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age eight Evgeny Kissin Piano 10 Entered music school at age six  Aimi Kobayashi Piano 3 Performed concerts at age three and with orchestras at age seven, performed at Carnegie Hall, etc. Lang Lang Piano Began playing at age two; entered Beijing Conservatory at age eight; won international competitions at age thirteen  Ingmar Lazar Piano 6 Solo debut at age six at the Salle Gaveau in Paris Franz Liszt Piano 9 Performed first major concert at age eleven  Leo Ornstein Piano Entered Saint Petersburg Conservatory at age ten  Sergei Prokofiev Piano Composed an opera at age nine Camille Saint-Saëns Piano 5 Gave his first public recital at age five Ernest Schelling Piano 4 Began studies in Europe at age seven  Philippa Schuyler Piano 11  Dimitris Sgouros Piano 7 First public recital at age seven; Carnegie Hall debut at age twelve with Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto  Ruth Slenczynska Piano 11 Played with a full orchestra at age eleven; writer of Forbidden Childhood  Alicia Witt Piano 7 Won several piano competitions in the years after her debut  Yuja Wang Piano 7 Performed in several piano competitions and concerts before moving to Canada at age eleven to study at Mount Royal College. Noah Grey-Cabey Piano 4 Youngest Person to perform solo in Sydney Opera House
Name Instrument(s) Debut Notes Linda Brava Violin 11 Worldwide tours at age eight, leader of the prestigious Helsinki Juniorstrings at thirteen  Guila Bustabo Violin 9 Performed with the Chicago Symphony at age 9; made Carnegie Hall debut at age 15 Akim Camara Violin 2 Performed "Schneefloeckchen, Weissbroeckchen" with the Marzahn Hellersdorf School of Music at age 2; with Andre Rieu at the Waldbuehne at age 3; with Andre Rieu at Radio City Music Hall at age 5; with Wolfgang Fischer at age 6 & Richard Clayderman at age 7 (2009). Sarah Chang Violin 8  Jacqueline du Pré Cello 8  Midori Goto Violin 11  Ryu Goto Violin 7  Ida Haendel Violin Prizewinner in Henryk Wieniawski International Violin Competition at age six  Jascha Heifetz Violin 7  Mayuko Kamio Violin 10  Koh Gabriel Kameda Violin 9 Orchestral debut at thirteen performed the violin concerto No. 5 by Henri Vieuxtemps with the Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra Rachel Lee Violin 8 She has studied at the Juilliard School since age 8 Yo-Yo Ma Cello 5 Performed for audiences at 5; performed for John F. Kennedy at 7; appeared on TV at 8 Yehudi Menuhin Violin 7  Anne Akiko Meyers Violin 7  Stefan Milenković Violin 10 First international award at age seven Alma Moodie Violin 6 Entered Brussels Conservatory at age 9; premiered concertos by Kurt Atterberg, Hans Pfitzner and Ernst Krenek Anne-Sophie Mutter Violin 9 David Oistrakh Violin 6  Gregor Piatigorsky Cello Entered the Moscow Conservatory at age eleven; headed a quartet at age fifteen  Michael Rabin Violin 10 Could "keep beat" at age one  Florizel von Reuter Violin 10 Graduated from Geneva Conservatory at age 11, 1901  Ruggiero Ricci Violin 10 Began international tours at age fourteen  Clara Rockmore Violin, theremin 9 Entered the Imperial Conservatory at age five, the youngest ever student  Leo Smith Cello 8 Frank Peter Zimmermann Violin 10 
Name Instrument(s) Debut Notes Raphael Severe Clarinet 11 Played Mozart clarinet concerto in China only three years after starting to learn the clarinet.
|Julian Bliss | style="text-align:center;"|Clarinet | style="text-align:center;"|4 |Began playing the clarinet at the age of 4. Currently a virtuoso touring musician. Has played for British royalty.] |}
Composing and conducting
Name Talent Debut Notes Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga (1806–1826) Composer 11 Composed a two-act opera at age thirteen  Samuel Barber (1910–1981) Composer, conductor 7 Attempted an opera at age ten; attended the Curtis Institute of Music at age fourteen  Georges Bizet (1838–1875) Composer Entered the Paris Conservatoire at age ten  Frédéric Chopin Composer 7 Began concerts and polonaises at age seven; attained notability by age fifteen  Ruth Gipps Composer 8  Morton Gould Composer, conductor 6  Jay Greenberg (born 1991) Composer 12 Entered Juilliard School at age ten; composed five symphonies by age twelve  Erich Wolfgang Korngold Composer, conductor 11  Lorin Maazel (born 1930) Conductor 7  Felix Mendelssohn Composer, conductor 12  Gian Carlo Menotti Composer 7 Composed first opera at age eleven  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 5 His first compositions were Andante (K. 1a) and Allegro (K. 1b)  Olli Mustonen (born 1967) ? Composed a Divertimento for piano and orchestra at the age of 12, and his piano concerto at the age of 14.  Niccolò Paganini Composer, violinist 7  Alex Prior (born 1992) Composer, conductor 8  Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) Composer 7 Entered the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München at age twelve  Nino Rota (1911–1979) Composer 11 Composed an oratorio at the age of 10, conducting performances in Italy and Paris. Julian Scriabin (1908–1919) Composer c. 9–11  Edgard Varèse Composer, conductor 12 Composed first opera at age 12.
- John Burgess began playing at the age of four before turning professional at the age of sixteen. He was known as the 'King Of The Highland Pipers'.
Country and bluegrass
- Billy Gilman: Had a hit single and a platinum album at age eleven; was nominated for a Grammy Award against adult competition at age twelve
- Hunter Hayes: a cajun accordionist that began his musical career at age four, making appearances at local performances and on national television.
- Alison Krauss: Won local competitions at age ten and was named the most promising Midwestern fiddler at age twelve 
- Brenda Lee: Debuted at age ten 
- Doug Sahm: Played with Hank Williams at age eleven; released an album by age fourteen; later helped form the rock band Sir Douglas Quintet and the Tejano music related Texas Tornados
- Ricky Skaggs: Mandolin virtuoso; performed with Flatt and Scruggs at age seven 
- Chris Thile: Cofounded Nickel Creek at age eight 
Folk and world music
- Areti Ketime: Debuted at age six; performed at the 2004 Summer Olympics at age fourteen 
- Adán Sánchez: Released first album at age eleven 
- Joe Bonamassa: Became proficient at Guitar at age 11, opened for B.B. King at age 13.
- Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Began at age seven; performed onstage with professionals at age thirteen
- Quinn Sullivan: Began playing guitar at age 3; has performed onstage with B.B. King and Buddy Guy
- Derek Trucks: Began playing with The Allman Brothers Band at age 11
Jazz and jazz-fusion
- Shelly Berg: Entered the Cleveland Institute of Music at age six; was a professional musician at age thirteen 
- Andy Bey: He played at clubs at 5, By age 12 he performed at the Apollo Theater with Louis Jordan and had his first recording.
- Francesco Cafiso: He worked with Franco D'Andrea at age 11 or 12.
- Terri Lyne Carrington: Awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music at age eleven 
- Dennis Chambers: began playing drums at age three, was professional at 9, was an 'in demand' drummer on the NYC music scene at the age of 14, and was a member of Parliament-Funkadelic at the age of 18.
- Cyrus Chestnut: Entered the Peabody Institute at age nine 
- Cy Coleman: Played in Carnegie Hall at age seven 
- Eldar Djangirov: "Discovered" at age nine; became the youngest musician to appear on Piano Jazz at age twelve; released his first CD at age fourteen 
- Taylor Eigsti: Opened for David Benoit at age eight and played with Dave Brubeck at age twelve 
- Herbie Hancock: Performed on piano with the Chicago symphony at age eleven; began playing jazz later in college 
- Biréli Lagrène: Won a Gypsy music festival in Strasbourg at age eight and performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival at thirteen.
- Buddy Rich: Began playing drums at 18 months old; was a bandleader by age eleven 
- Sugar Chile Robinson: A pianist in the jazz sub-genre of boogie-woogie, he had his first public performance at the age of 3; he retired from active performing at age 13.
- Hilton Ruiz: Performed at Carnegie Recital Hall at age eight; played in an accordion symphony at age nine 
- Consuelo Velázquez: Began playing at age four; performed piano concerto at age six; wrote Bésame Mucho at age sixteen
- Mary Lou Williams: Taught herself piano before age five; played professionally by age thirteen 
- Keith Jarrett: Pianist
R&B, soul,hip-hop, and funk
- Michael Jackson: Joined his older siblings in the Jackson 5 at age five; his dancing, singing and performing abilities soon surpassed his older siblings; He had his first No.1 as a solo artist at age 13, and his first No.1 (as the lead singer of the Jackson 5) at age 11.
- Booker T. Jones: Keyboardist for Booker T and the M.G's was profecient at organ, piano, oboe, saxophone, and trombone by the age of 10. He began playing as a professional session musician at 16.
- Gladys Knight: Began performing at age four; won on the Original Amateur Hour at age seven; toured at age eight 
- Stevie Wonder: Skilled at multiple instruments early; signed to Motown at age eleven; first U.S. number-one hit at age thirteen.
- Bernie Worrell: Originally classically trained; wrote a concerto at age eight.
- Victor Wooten: Bela Fleck's bassist, started playing funk-bass at 3.
- Richie Sambora: Bon Jovi guitarist began playing music at age 3, using various instruments throughout his childhood; he started playing guitar at 12.
- Sugar Chile Robinson: Won talent contests as singer and pianist from age 3, performed and recorded as a child with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie and others
- Dido: Entered the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at age six.
- Marvin Hamlisch: Became the youngest student ever accepted by the Juilliard School of Music at age seven.
- Cleopatra Stratan: Had a hit single at the age of 3; Youngest artist to win an MTV award
Alternative and rock
- Tori Amos: Attended the Peabody Institute at age five and was expelled from it at 11.
- Björk: Began classical study at age five; released an album at age eleven 
- Alanis Morissette: Released her first song at age ten, which later became an unsuccessful single; became a protege of a local folk musician; had her own record and record producing company at an early age 
- Wolfgang Van Halen: Son of Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen, Wolfgang began playing on-stage with the band at age 13, and was a full member of Van Halen at age 15. He plays guitar, electric bass, drums, and keyboard.
- Steve Winwood: Played organ in the "The Ron Atkinson Band" at age eight; was backing blues legends by age thirteen on United Kingdom tours; became the keyboardist for The Spencer Davis Group at age fifteen 
- Charly Garcia: Played piano at age of three, gifted. He has absolute pitch.
- Vangelis: Was composing at age of four.
- Jason Becker: Gifted electric guitarist afflicted with ALS
- Jordan Rudess: entered the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division for classical piano training at age nine. He currently plays keyboards, continuum, and synthesizers in the progressive metal band Dream Theater.
- Nathan Young: Joined the band Anberlin as a drummer at age 12.
- Ustad Zakir Hussain: A tabla maestro who was touring by the age of twelve.
- Kumar Gandharva: Legendary vocalist enthralled audiences and senior artists alike in his tours at a young age of twelve.
- Chandrakant Sardeshmukh : A Sitar maestro who performed at the age of six and declared child prodigy by world famous Ravi Shankar .
- List of child prodigies
- List of musicians
- Musical Prodigies: Masters at an Early Age by Renee B. Fisher ISBN 0-8096-1854-0
- Musical Prodigies: Perilous Journeys, Remarkable Lives by Claude Kenneson ISBN 1-57467-046-8
- ^ a b c d The age at which the musician had their first public performance.
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- ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0892797/bio
- ^ Institute of jazz studies (1910-05-08). "Early Roots". Newarkwww.rutgers.edu. http://newarkwww.rutgers.edu/ijs/mlw/roots.html. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- ^ CBS: Pop Icon Looks Back At A "Thriller" Of A Career In New Interview
- ^ "Gladys Knight - Biography on Bio". Thebiographychannel.co.uk. http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biography_story/251:318/1/Gladys_Knight.htm. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- ^ allmusic ((( Stevie Wonder > Biography )))
- ^ Bernie Worrell | View the Music Artists Biography Online | VH1.com
- ^ Dido (I) - Biography
- ^ Broadway: The American Musical . Stars Over Broadway . Marvin Hamlisch | PBS
- ^ Pareles, Jon (1998-04-23). "AT LUNCH WITH - Tori Amos - Disclosing Intimacies, Enjoying the Shock Value - Biography - NYTimes.com". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9802E5DC173FF930A15757C0A96E958260. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001951/bio
- ^ "CNN.com". Transcripts.cnn.com. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0301/04/pitn.00.html. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- ^ Huey, Steve (1948-05-12). "((( Steve Winwood > Biography )))". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5854. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
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