At only 5 years old, Parkville Elementary School kindergartner Xiaoyan “LeLe” Liu earned first place in both the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition and the Crescendo International Music Competition.
What is truly impressive is that the Crescendo competition attracted more than 5,000 contestants between the ages of 5 and 22. While American Protégé did not disclose the exact number of entries received this year, it is one of the largest music competitions in the world and garnered a record number of entries from 17 countries.
The judges were impressed by Liu’s selections and her ability to play difficult pieces. She performed Beethoven’s Sonata in G Major and Bach’s “Invention Number Eight,” both requiring complex fingering techniques.
Her performance also spotlighted her excellent stage presence, full of confidence and energy. She displayed her love for music and piano—and her amazing work ethic. These skills impressed the four judges in the Protégé competition and all 10 in the Crescendo competition.
Before competing, Liu had performed in recitals, concerts and, most notably, the United Nations headquarters. She had also played piano on some national television shows.
The Parkville kindergartner continues to hone her skills outside of competitions. She enjoys playing in small orchestras and accompanying her father’s vocals on piano.
While Liu performed solo in both competitions this year, she enjoys playing with others and making friends with young musicians.
In addition to piano, Liu plays violin and sings.
“She developed perfect pitch after learning the piano for a few months, with which she can easily identify piano notes,” her father explained.
Since her mastering of the notes, she is now experimenting with the improvisation of sections of music and even how to play notes with different fingerings.
“Usually, it is hard for kids her age to read and understand musical notes, but Xiaoyan quickly mastered it,” her father said proudly.