Prodigies. What exactly is the definition of prodigy? Dictionary.com defines this as:
a person, esp. a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability: a musical prodigy.
But in the violin scene, this prodigy label is given to a select few: the youngsters who debut with a professional orchestra. But by using this definition, it would seem as if many more youngsters would be deserving of such a title. There are so many great players (under the age of 18) who have a tremoundous amount of talent...but are they or aren't they considered prodigies? Most of them have never soloed with a professional orchestra (except a few who win concerto competitions) and so, how would we define them?
There is also the cliche of how difficult it is to transition from a prodigy to a mature artist sucessfully...but imo, there are so many prodigies out there who have made it to the international circuit. Bell, Hahn, Midori, Mutter, Vengerov, Shaham, and of course, probably the most famouse, chang.
In my honest opinion, being a prodigy actually gives you an easier time getting yourself established and allows you some leeway in terms of pleasing critics and audiences. Of course, if you are established as an international soloist at a young age, then you already have that fan-base and orchestral ties (with maestros, players, etc) to help you in your adult life.
But then again, how many prodigies DON'T actually make the international circuit?
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