In celebration of BC’s Family Day holiday that honours the bonds and traditions of family, we’ve collected a few of history’s greatest child musical prodigies. These musical greats undoubtedly would not have graced the world with their incredible contributions to chamber music without the encouragement, inspiration, and support of their families.
The Prolific Beginnings of Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began at age three, making him one of the youngest and most prolific of the Classical composers. The youngest of seven children, Mozart was taught and encouraged in the musical arts by his father, Leopold Mozart, who was a minor composer himself as a well as a violinist and great teacher. It was with his older sister, Maria Anna “Nannerl”, who began piano lessons with their father at age seven, that Mozart would sit in and first gained his love of music.
Romantic Composer and Pianist Frédéric François Chopin
Born Fryderyk Franciszek to his French teacher father Nicolas Chopin and Polish mother Justyna Krzyzanowska, Chopin was giving public concerts by the age of 7 and had composed two traditional polish dances. Not surprising, considering music ran in the family: Nicolas played the flute and violin, and Chopin’s mother played the piano as well as gave lessons. She was most likely his first introduction to the piano. Although he would go on to study with professional tutors, he occasionally played duets with his older sister Ludwika, keeping the family tradition alive.
The Akim Camara-Felix Mendelssohn Connection
At just two-and-a-half years old in 2003 and still in diapers, Akim Camara attended his first violin lesson at the Marzahn-Hellersdorf School of Music. His exceptional ear for music meant he could memorize parts of the compositions, and play them back very well. Though speaking gibberish as most toddlers do, Camara could name all of the musical instruments. His first concert was at the end of that same year. The child prodigy went on to play Felix Mendelssohn’s Dance of the Fairies at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.
Mendelssohn himself was a child prodigy, one of the lucky five children of banker Abraham Mendelssohn and Lea Salomon, who believed in the best possible education for their children. Lea was her son’s first piano teacher at age 6; the beginning of a very prominent career for Mendelssohn as a composer, pianist, organist and conductor.
Keep an eye on our website as we announce the Friends of Chamber Music’s 63rd Annual Young Musicians Competition concert! In the meantime, wishing you all a very Happy Family Day.