Watch: Five year-old plays Mozart piano concerto

Watch: Five year-old plays Mozart piano concerto


norman lebrecht

July 26, 2016

Evan Duy Quoc Le, known as Evan Le,  was born to Vietnamese parents on May 31st, 2011 in Torrance, California.

He had his first piano lesson a year ago and can now get through the first movement of Mozart’s eighth piano concerto, K246.


evan le

Not just at home, either. Here’s his first orchestral performance, posted yesterday:

And we’re told he wrote his own cadenza.


  • Eric Shanes says:

    As Edgar Degas said, “Anyone can be talented at five. The problem is to be talented at fifty”

    • ED says:

      hmm.. don’t know about you, but when I was 5, I was barely coordinated enough to tie my shoelaces, and I loved Mozart because he made chocolate balls with sweet fillings..

  • V.Lind says:

    Love the little head moving back and forth. Crikey at 5, I was playing Brahms Andantes so simple I can still remember bits. What sadistic teacher prepped this kid to play this? and so well — for his age? Perhaps someone who knows something — the nipper showed a certain feeling for what he was hearing.

    It will be interesting to see how he shapes up.

  • Dan P. says:

    This Mozart Concerto made my day. This was mindboggling on so many levels. 5 year olds barely have the fine motor skills to hold a crayon or eat with a spoon without getting food all over themselves. To be able to negotiate this concerto, much less play with such sensitivity to phrasing is not something I could easily imagine. His cadenza made me smile non-stop and this was not the only thing that showed how involved he was – he could hardly contain himself, conducting along with the tuttis. But, if nothing else (and there are always cynics), you have to be amazed that he could keep an entire movement of a Mozart concerto in his head – totally securely – from beginning to end. You have to remember that 5 is when children just learn write the alphabet and are only months away from potty training.

    • Doug says:

      You’ve obviously never raised children. Potty-training at five?! Oh, and I have a bridge for sale….

      • Dan P says:

        Actually, that isn’t what I said. What I said was months away from potty training – that is to make a point about how young Five is. And yes, I’ve brought up children.

        Why so snippy? The people who post on this blog seem to be such an unpleasant bunch of presumptuous people at times. And, if the topic of this post is any indication, meddlesome too.

  • Fanny says:

    This video just makes me sad. Does this kid ever get to have fun, or do his parents just make him practice all day? And don’t say that practicing all day is fun, because it isn’t.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      He probably doesn’t have to practice all day to do that. That is his special talent.

      And he may love it like other kids love playing a video game.

      If a kid wanted to spend several hours a day pressing buttons for a video game no one would think that odd. Here is a different game of buttons.

    • Dan P. says:

      I don’t understand all the assumptions being made here – and the patronizing and put downs of this little kid. It’s really not nice. Fanny asks does he ever get to have fun? So, playing Mozart can’t be fun? Does anyone consider that he loves what he’s doing? Did you see his head bobbing to the music – or his conducting during the orchestral passages?

      I think it’s safe to assume at least one thing: you can’t just teach a five year old to play this well unless he has an unusual talent and an unusual mental capacity. And, you couldn’t do it unless he wanted to do it and spend the time doing it. 5 year olds know their own mind and can be extremely stubborn when faced with something they don’t like.

      • Tweettweet says:

        Hear hear! Seems that he has a lot of fun playing. And Fanny, why assuming that he doesn’t play outside and that he’s practicing all day?

        Just hope that he does not lose the pleasure of making music.

    • Paul Davis says:

      What a negative, pessimistic comment. His natural enjoyment is obvious; if more children had the opportunity there would be numerous young musicians playing for pleasure, that’s how it should be. Don’t be blinded by the sad stories of pushy, greedy parents; this shows the other side of the coin, that good music is naturally enjoyable.
      I second the comment by Robert Holmén

  • opusklassiek says:

    He should play outside, with children and lots of childish fun. This is nuts and faceless.

  • Quodlibet says:

    Affect can be imitated by the very young, often with charming and irresistible results, esp at around the four-minute mark:

    Memorization can imply understanding: [really moving but is it talent?]

    I have no doubt that these little ones have a deep love for, and a gut understanding of, this music. They are deeply engaged. Hope they get good instruction and encouragement, given in an age-appropriate and healthy way.

  • La Verita says:

    Perhaps this boy’s parents will read “Forbidden Childhood” – the autobiography of pianist Ruth Slenczynska, who toured the world from age 5 to age 14, when she suffered a nervous breakdown and disappeared. She then made a sensational come-back at age 25, and wrote this book exposing her father’s greed and brutality. There are no recorded documents of her youthful playing, although the surviving reviews run the gamut from raves to pans. But it was generally agreed that her adult playing wasn’t of the top level, and her career soon slowed to a modest pace, running mainly on the inertia of her childhood fame. One wishes this boy well, and here’s hoping that his parents will let him grow up normally, get him the best training, and won’t exploit him mercilessly. He may or may not be the next Daniel Barenboim – as there are no guarantees that even the best prodigies will grow up to be major artists. Sadly, very few of them ever do.

  • Marg says:

    Evan clearly loves playing the piano. And who says he doesn’t play with other kids? He has great talent, I wish him well, as he will bring enjoyment to many, and pray his parents exercise great guidance in raising him with his talent.

  • Peter says:

    There are always people like Fanny and opusklassiek. What I don’t understand is what people loose time to answer to them ?

  • Bente says:

    This little boy bring so much joy to the world on so many levels, we can only wish him well, joy and happiness, Safe journey little evan