Prodigious 14-Year-Old Composer Amazes Audience with Unforgettable Performance at Packed Carnegie Hall Concert

Byvu lita

Jul 20, 2023

Three years ago, a music composer often described as a “child prodigy” performed in Surrey alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Feb. 28.

“Fifteen-year-old Alma Deutscher, who wrote her first piano sonata at age six and her first short opera (‘The Sweeper of Dreams’) at seven,” wowed audiences around the world with her talents as a violinist, pianist, and composer.

In Surrey, as part of a regional tour, Alma took the stage at Bell Performing Arts Centre in an 8 p.m. concert featuring her own “Piano Concerto in E-flat Major” along with Benjamin Britten’s “Canadian Carnival” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 3, Scottish.”

Often compared to Mozart, another composer who “wrote his first opera at age 11,” Alma said she would prefer to be known as “the first Alma than to be the second Mozart.”

She was recently profiled on NBC Nightly News following her debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall in a sold-out concert dedicated to her own compositions.

The British-born Alma said, “For me, it’s strange to walk around and not have melodies popping into my head. When I was four, I just had these melodies and ideas in my head, and I would play them down at the piano. And sometimes my parents would think that I was just remembering music that I’d already heard before. But I said, ‘No, no, these are my melodies that I composed.’”

In the “Surrey Nights” concert, Alma was conducted by Canadian-born Stanley Dodds, the first member of the Berlin Philharmonic of Chinese descent and Principal Conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.

The concert included a 7 p.m. lobby performance by student musicians who attend Fleetwood Park Secondary.

In a post on the VSO’s website, Alma described the creation of the piano concerto performed at the Bell.

“My piano concerto was premiered in 2017 in Austria with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra,” Alma wrote. “It is in E-flat Major, which is one of my favorite keys and which was my absolute favorite when I was younger. I wrote the piano concerto ‘back to front,’ starting from the third movement and then the second and first movements only at the end.

“The first movement was written in the spring of 2017. The main idea for it came to me when I was on a flight from England to Vienna. I heard a motive, and almost immediately two versions of this motive played in my head: a dark and dramatic version and a light and much more lyrical version. For a while, these two versions ‘fought’ one another in my head, and eventually, the whole movement turned into a conflict between light and darkness.

“The orchestral introduction started with just two happy bars of E-flat Major,” Alma continued, “but it then plunged into the dark version of the motive in the third bar. After this dark chord, the orchestra could not continue happily, and the rest of the orchestral introduction was in darkness. It was only the entrance of the piano that brought back the light, with a much happier version of the orchestral theme. The darkness came back at various points during the movement, especially at the end, where it tried to have the last word with fortissimo chords. But the light finally overcame it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *