Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

A prodigy is a person of exceptional power and ability. A child prodigy is a kid who is recognized for genius at an early age.

Maria Gaetana Agnesi was the first of 21 children. She lived in Milan, Italy, in the early 1800s. At age 5 she spoke fluent French. By 9 she spoke Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. She once delivered an hour-long speech to an academic gathering. The subject was the right of women to be educated, and the speech was written and spoken in Latin. Maria was 9 years old at the time. By the age of 20 she had begun a major work on differential and integral calculus. She used her linguistic ability to bring together authors writing in various languages; she also formulated new methods for mathematics.

Hazel Scott was born in Trinidad in 1920. She began playing the piano at the age of 3. Her family moved to New York City when she was 4. At the age of 5 she debuted in a piano concert. When she was 8, she was accepted to the Juilliard School of Music on a six-year scholarship. At that time, students had to be 16 to enter the school. By the time she was 13, Hazel was called the child wonder pianist. Hazel Scott died in 1981 after a lifetime of performing classical music, singing, and acting.

Sarah Caldwell, the highly esteemed opera conductor and producer, was born in 1928. She was recognized as a mathematical and musical prodigy at the age of 4. At 10 she was giving violin recitals. She played on her own radio show when she was 16. That same year she played with Count Basie's band at the Roseland Dance Hall in New York City. In 1957, with only $5,000, she founded the Opera Company of Boston.

Olya Zaranika of Russia was 7 years old when she finished composing her second complete opera. In 1993, when Olya was 9, her first opera was staged in Moscow.

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