Some call her a prodigy. But she's modest -- even while playing Mozart.
"I'm not sure if I'm technically a prodigy," says Xiaoli Magary. "There are other people I know that are probably more talented than me. It's just something that I do."
But if you listen before you look -- you'll miss out on an important part of Xiaoli Magary's story. She was severely burned when she was around five months old. At the time she was living in China. It's unknown what actually caused Xiaoli's burns. "I was burned and I was told my parents couldn't take care of me so that's why I was put in an orphanage," says Xiaoli.
Her mother, Ruth Magary, adopted Xiaoli from China when Xiaoli was two-years-old. "It was such a different life than she was used to and she liked the attention," says Ruth. "We bonded very, very quickly. But it was hard too, you know, letting your child go into surgery."
But she says surgery was necessary. When Xiaoli first arrived in the United States, she was burned so badly that she didn't have eyelids to keep her eyes from getting dry. "I've had surgeries on reconstruction. I know I had some like my nose, my mouth, my eyes," says Xiaoli as she remembers her long list of operations.
Numerous surgeries and skin grafts don't completely erase Xiaoli's scars, but that doesn't dampen her spirits. "It's just the way I look," says Xiaoli.
"It's tough for a girl, I know, especially for a girl going into teenage years. But she's always accepted -- been so accepting of herself," says Ruth. "It's never slowed her down. Not one day."
But Xiaoli does slow down every day to play violin. "She's really talented. I don't think she realizes really just how good she is," says Ruth.
"In one of my concerts I had an elderly woman come up to me and say I should never stop playing -- that it's just something I should stick with -- and that she loved hearing me." Xiaoli says the kind words made her happy -- happy to think the hobby that brings her joy is also bringing joy to others.
Her mother told Eyewitness News about a concert in which she was especially touched by her daughter's musical talent. "I heard the first note and I started to cry. And it wasn't just little tears coming down, it was the gasp type thing," says Ruth. "It was just so beautiful, and so touching, and just so right. "
Overcoming adversity can be seen in many forms -- but for Xiaoli Magary, it's heard and felt.
Xiaoli plays for the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and will play for The Signature School's orchestra when she starts high school in the fall.