List of child music prodigies

A child prodigy is defined in psychology research literature as a person under the age of ten who produces meaningful output in some domain to the level of an adult expert performer.[1][2][3] This is a list of young children (at or under age 10) who displayed a talent in music deemed to make them competitive with skilled adult musicians. The list is sorted by genre and instrument.



Name Born Instrument Debut[4] Notes
Charles-Valentin Alkan 1813 Piano, composition 5 Entered Paris Conservatoire at age 5, youngest ever admission. [5]
Martha Argerich 1941 Piano 4 Orchestral debut at age six[6]
Kit Armstrong 1992 Piano 5 Concerto debut at eight; Morton Gould Young Composer Award for five consecutive years[7]
Claudio Arrau 1903 Piano 5 Could read notes before letters[8]
Daniel Barenboim 1942 Piano 7 [9]
Emily Bear 2001 Piano 5 Composed and released her first piano album at age five
Vincenzo Bellini 1801 Piano 5 Began studying music theory at two, the piano at three, and by the age of five could apparently play well
Lili Boulanger 1893 Piano, violin, cello, harp Attended Louis Vierne's organ classes at the Paris Conservatoire at age six[10]
Frédéric Chopin 1810 Piano 7 Wrote his first composition, a polonaise, which is still studied and performed today. [11]
Georges Cziffra 1921 Piano Entered the Franz Liszt Academy at age nine, after some four years performing in a traveling circus
Carl Filtsch 1830 Piano 6 Composed concerto at thirteen; died at age fourteen[12]
Glenn Gould 1932 Piano 4[13] Attended The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) at age 10; passing his final Conservatory examination in piano with the "highest marks of any candidate"; attaining "professional standing as a pianist" at age 12[14]
Josef Hofmann 1876 Piano 10 [15]
Evgeny Kissin 1971 Piano 10 Entered music school at age six[16]
Franz Liszt 1811 Piano 9 Performed first major concert at age eleven[17]
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756 Piano, violin 4 One of the most prolific composers of the Classical Era. Performed all over Europe with his father Leopold and sister Nannerl [18]
Sergei Prokofiev 1891 Piano Composed an opera at age nine
Camille Saint-Saëns 1835 Piano 5 Gave his first public recital at age five



Name Born Talent Debut[19] Notes
Samuel Barber 1910 Composer, conductor 7 Attempted an opera at age ten; attended the Curtis Institute of Music at age fourteen[20]
Frédéric Chopin 1810 Composer 7 Began concerts and polonaises at age seven; attained notability by age fifteen[21]
Alma Deutscher 2005 Composer, violinist, pianist 6 Starting piano at 2, violin at 3, and composing at 4. Numerous childhood works including piano sonata at 6, operetta The Sweeper of Dreams at 7, violin concerto at 9, full-length opera Cinderella at 10, fully orchestrated at 11, piano concerto at 12.[22]
Felix Mendelssohn 1809 Composer, conductor 9 [23]
Gian Carlo Menotti 1911 Composer 7 Composed first opera at age eleven[24]
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756 Composer 4 His first compositions were Andante (K. 1a) and Allegro (K. 1b)[25]
Niccolò Paganini 1782 Composer, violinist 7 [26]
Nino Rota 1911 Composer 10 Composed an oratorio at the age of 10, conducting performances in Italy and Paris.

See also

  • List of musicians

Further reading

  • 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


  1. Feldman, David H.; Morelock, M. J. (2011). "Prodigies". In Runco, Mark A.; Pritzker, Steven R. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Creativity. Encyclopedia of Creativity (Second Edition). Academic Press. pp. 261–265. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-375038-9.00182-5. ISBN 978-0-12-375038-9. Lay summary (8 April 2015). For the purposes of this and future research, a prodigy was defined as a child younger than 10 years of age who has reached the level of a highly trained professional in a demanding area of endeavor.  via ScienceDirect (Subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries.)
  2. Rose, Lacey (2 March 2007). "Whiz Kids". Forbes. Retrieved 3 April 2015. At the moment, the most widely accepted definition is a child, typically under the age of 10, who has mastered a challenging skill at the level of an adult professional.
  3. Feldman, David Henry (Fall 1993). "Child prodigies: A distinctive form of giftedness". Gifted Child Quarterly. 27 (4): 188–193. doi:10.1177/001698629303700408. ISSN 0016-9862.
  4. The age at which the musician had their first public performance.
  5. Conway, David (2012). Jewry in Music: Entry to the Profession from the Enlightenment to Richard Wagner. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-01538-8, pp. 222-224.
  6. "Martha Argerich Repertoire". Archived from the original on April 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  7. "Kit Armstrong". Archived from the original on 2010-11-21. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  8. "Claudio Arrau Biography". Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  9. "Four – Audio Interviews – Daniel Barenboim". BBC. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  10. "Radio 3 – Composer of the Week – 1. Early promise". BBC. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  11. Jachimecki, p. 420.
  12. Jeffrey Biegel Performer Blog (2006-01-10). "Jeffrey Biegel". Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  13. Stegemann, Michael. "The Story of a Genius". This is Glenn Gould. Sony Music Entertainment. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2013. June 5, 1938: Gould accompanies his parents on the organ at a church concert
  14. Bazzana, Kevin (2003). Wondrous strange : the life and art of Glenn Gould. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-0-7710-1101-6.
  15. "PMC ESSAYS: Zakrzewska – Pianists 100 Years Ago (2)". 2000-08-08. Archived from the original on 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  16. "Music – Artists". BBC. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2006-02-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. "Mozart's Vienna". Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  19. The age at which the composer first composed.
  20. "Samuel Barber". Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  21. "Fryderyk Chopin: Poet of the Piano". 2008-02-09. Archived from the original on 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  22. Sally Williams " How 12-year-old Alma Deutscher became the world's 'little Mozart'" Telegraph Magazine, 31 August 2017.
  23. Archived from the original on January 10, 2006. Retrieved February 4, 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. "Gian Carlo Menotti". 1911-07-07. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  25. Cliff Eisen, Stanley Sadie, '(Johann Chrysostom) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart', Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed May 9, 2006)
  26. "Legendary Violinists. Niccolo Paganini". Retrieved 2010-09-20.
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