The Violin Thief by Geoff Edgers Philip Johnson was a promising musical prodigy. Then he stole a teacher’s prized Stradivarius. [more inside]
Wyatt (8 mos) plays Pantera [slyt]
Twenty years after originally forming, the English electronic/ rave/ big beat group The Prodigy were back on tour for their fifth studio album, Invaders Must Die. On July 24, 2010, the "40-somethings bounce around a stage like men half their age, owning festival-sized audiences" like rising dance stars wish they could. The performance was recorded and released the next year, and you can see the hour plus of World's On Fire in full on Vimeo. (NOTE: NSFW lyrics) [more inside]
"Nobody would believe how difficult it is to be the mother of a Wunderkind. Everything I do is wrong; everything the child does is “for effect”; everything we say is utterly untrue. If Vivien runs up to me and kisses me, I hear it murmured that she is trained to do so. (“Whipped to be affectionate in public!”) So I tell her never to do it again. Immediately people remark how cold I am to the child; how the poor little creature evidently fears me and prefers Fräulein Muller. We take her with her hoop and skipping-rope to play in the park? It is said we make her pretend to be infantine, force her to act the “happy child” when people are looking on! So we take her toys from her and conduct her for prim walks between us. “Poor little unnatural creature!” say our friends: “she has no child-life at all.” The Devourer and the Devoured is a long essay by Emily Hogstad about the intertwined lives of the novelist Annie Vivanti and her daughter Vivien Chartres, a world-famous violin prodigy, at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Mario Wienrroither cuts up music videos to create surreal, musicless clips: Firestarter - Smells Like Teen Spirit - I Want To Break Free (Music videos without music previously, more previously)
Judit Polgár is the greatest female chess player in history. The product of an educational experiment by her father, she was the first to break Bobby Fischer's record as the youngest-ever grandmaster - by which time she had already stopped competing in women-only tournaments. In 2002, she avenged an earlier controversial loss to Garry Kasparov - the first time in any sport that the No. 1 ranked female player has beaten the No. 1 ranked male player. At her peak, ranked 8th in the world, she became the first woman to compete for the World Championship. After several years of reduced activity spent raising her two children, Polgár returned to full-time competition - making it to the quarter-finals of the 2011 FIDE World Cup. [more inside]
Tim Doner is a 16 year old polyglot from New York city who currently speaks 23 languages. (warning: video) He uses flash cards on his iPhone and posts youtube videos to get feedback from native speakers. [more inside]
Rachel Flowers plays some of rock's toughest compositions on keyboard. Oh, and jazz and classics too. Impressive, for an eighteen-year-old. Who is blind.
Singing Prodigy Viva Vox do a selection of tunes by the Prodigy, acapella. (YT)
Then, coming on six o'clock, Mr. Myhrvold, the former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft and an inventor with hundreds of patents to his name, came in, wearing chef's whites, and ushered us into dinner. Boy, people eat early around here, I thought. Little did I know I would be eating non-stop for the next three hours. (previously: 1,2) [more inside]
As much as any book I know, Crippled Detectives transcribes the dream state, not just in its flights of fancy and logic-jumping juxtapositions, but in the mutating narrative tactics, the topsy-turvy focus (the climax is over in a flash, whereas digressions distend to marvelous effect), and especially the inconsistent point of view... I forgot to mention that Lee Tandy Schwartzman was all of seven years old when she wrote it.
Why did William James Sidis - the reclusive boy genius fluent in Latin at 2, accepted to MIT at 8, conceptual physicist at 11 - spend so much time thinking about public transit transfers? [more inside]
The 2010 Glastonbury Festival begins on the 23rd June at Worthy Farm in the village of Pilton, Somerset. [more inside]
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
"Maybe, just maybe, we've found the next Mozart." Not just a six year old virtuoso, but a composer as well, Emily Bear seems likely to keep us listening longer than most precocious child pianists. As one tv talk show host has learned, as a composer Emily is both speedy and prolific.
5 Year Old Adopted South Korean Blind Piano Prodigy Yoo Ye-eun can play songs after hearing them once. Watch her perform with Britain's Got Talent's Connie Talbot in a South Korean TV show called "Star King".
Gene Weingarten, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his story on Joshua Bell's busking stunt in a D.C. subway station, tells the story of an earlier busker performing in similar circumstances. With a spooky surprise ending: [more inside]
Child prodigies. (Just in case you were starting to feeling content with your middle-aged achievements.) [Warning: YouTube-heavy posting] [Warning: Chopin-heavy posting]
Marjoe Gortner, world's youngest preacher kicked off his religious career by performing a marriage at the age of four and a half. Although he eventually left the evangelism gig and became a hippie, lack of cash led him to take it up again part time as an adult. That is, until a crisis of conscience precipitated a documentary where he exposed the business of evangelical ministry. "Marjoe" won the 1972 Oscar for "Best Documentary" and has been recently re-released. An interview with Marjoe. You tubery inside.
Classic UK Hardcore Breakbeat videos. John Tab, a Washington DC-area Drum and Bass DJ, has been scouring you tube for classic UK hardcore and jungle videos from the early 90s and offering them up with commentary.
Ever find yourself at a museum and think "my son/daughter/niece/dog could do that"? Four year old painter Marla Olmstead really can. via
Remembering the amazingly mature poetry of Mattie Stepanek: national goodwill ambassador with muscular dystrophy, and 13 year old prodigal wordsmith.
13-year-old Gregory Robert Smith graduates from Randolph-Macon College this month. He has yet to find the vaccine for the brutal Atomic Wedgie.
Faces of Happiness. Geometric Look. Irreplaceable. Meet "this rarest of child prodigies," Romanian-born artist Alexandra Nechita. An abstract cubist who took the art world by storm at age 8, she now has over 300 striking paintings to her credit.
This is the story of what happens when a naïve 15-year-old prodigy collides with an upward-reaching football program, some of whose players feel like they own the campus.
This is the story of what happens when a naïve 15-year-old prodigy collides with an upward-reaching football program, some of whose players feel like they own the campus. Brittany Benefield started college at age 15 with the dream of finishing law school before she turned 21. Didn't quite work out that way, and hers is an amazing story. Take the time to read this, and think about it. Would you fault her parents, for letting her get into something she wasn't ready for; the university, for letting this get out of control; the football program, for running roughshod over the school; or Brittany, for her own decisions?
Ever wondered what happens to kids who takes those "So you want to be a rockstar..." books seriously?
Ever wondered what happens to kids who takes those "So you want to be a rockstar..." books seriously? Kcool 2002 - Move over Lil' Bow Wow, this 10 year old 'multi instrumental' musician is set to take over. He has the skills, the 'tude, and the um... songwriting abilities (scroll down) to take the world by storm.
Boy quits school at 7, becomes MIT professor at 20. Is alternative education a good idea? This article seems much more positive than another recent boy-genius post. It appears that most reporters assume that child prodigies are antisocial and that their parents are over-ambitious (they use negatively-connotated synonyms of those terms).
Smart young kids and too much freedom do not mix well. A girl prodigy at the age of 14 goes to university. She becomes mixed up in drugs, alcohol and sex. The parents sue school for lack of supervision. Is it really the school's job to look after her? Don't the parents have some responsibility here?
BT sues Prodigy over hyperlink patent another glorious example of "we have nothing better to offer than a really big lawsuit"
"[11-year-old] Greg Smith loves going online and playing soccer . . . he spends afternoons reading outdoors, hiking through the mountains and playing basketball with buddies...except that this 11-year-old has just completed his first year as a full-time student at Randolph- Macon College in Virginia..." Why do I have a feeling this kid is going to be writing a painful memoir about his lost childhood by the time he's 19?