Meet a pint-size U.S. piano prodigy

(Reuters) - Brigitte Xie reads music, can play Beethoven's Sonatina in F Major and has won a spot to perform at Carnegie Hall. She is 4 years old.

Brigitte's feet dangle above the ground when the petite girl sits on the piano bench, her hands moving gracefully across the keyboard.

With long brown hair in a ponytail and bow, she cast her dark eyes shyly downward when her mother, Nicole Sun, asked if she likes piano and if it was fun. "Yeah, fun," Brigitte replied.

Brigitte's father, Tao Xie of Ridgefield, Connecticut, signed her up for piano lessons on Zoom about a year ago to give her something to do during COVID-19 lockdown.

"At the beginning, I never expected that she's going to be a prodigy or anything," he said. "But yeah, it turns out it's amazing."

Brigitte was the youngest winner of the prestigious Elite International Music Competition, which earned her a spot at Carnegie Hall. She was supposed to play at Carnegie Hall as part of the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition in November 2020. That got postponed to this November and now to November 2022 due to COVID-19.

Brigitte's mother gives credit to her piano teacher, Felicia Feng Zhang.

"Brigitte came to me when she was just two months after three years old," her teacher said. "From the lessons, I observed she has a curious mind and she loves to learn. We call that passion."

(Reporting by Roselle Chen; Writing by Cynthia Osterman; Editing by Sandra Maler)