21st-Century Prodigy? Don’t Let Emily Bear Hear You Call Her That
Music lovers are all too familiar with the word prodigy. Mozart qualified, certainly, as did Mendelssohn. Pianist Martha Argerich made her orchestral debut at 8 years of age. George Bizet entered the Paris Conservatory when he was nine. Conrad Tao, who has both performed with and written music for ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, among many others, gave his first public recital when he was 4, and played his first concerto in concert when he was eight.
There is a young lady named Emily Bear who has had the word prodigy attached to her name by many, but she’d rather you not.
She wrote her first piece of music around the age of three. Her mom Andrea says when Emily was 1, she would sing lullabies to her and Emily would sing them back, pitch perfect.
Emily Bear plays Schumann’s A minor Piano Concerto, above. She also has a great ear for improvisation, which brings to mind Gabriela Montero, who asks for melodies from the audience and turns them into classically based improv.
Emily Bear and her mom Andrea spoke with NPR’s David Greene, who filed this story.
Listen to Don’t Call This Twelve-Year-Old Concert Pianist a Prodigy (NPR)
Watch Malik Kofi, also 12, who is a budding young cellist from Birmingham, Alabama