Music: Victor & Gianella

Gianella de Marco of Pescara, Italy, is a leggy little eight-year-old with mouse-colored hair and smoky blue eyes. She may also be one of the most remarkable musical talents in a generation. Fortnight ago, with a doll or two packed in her luggage along with her batons, Gianella arrived in England to rehearse the famed London Philharmonic for performances in Manchester and London.

Philharmonic musicians were not impressed at the prospect. "If an eight-year-old thinks she can teach anything to an experienced orchestra like the L.P.O.," one of them fumed. "I'll teach my...

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