Jump to content

Alma Deutscher - profoundly gifted 11-year old British composer/violinist/pianist


Yaffa
 Share

Recommended Posts

If anyone's fortunate enough to be able to get to Vienna over the holidays - there are still some tickets available for the world premiere of Alma Deutscher's opera Cinderella (http://www.cinderella-in-vienna.com/). There's an early chamber version of the opera, which was performed in Israel a couple of years ago, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IzTR8qdVLs (It's in Hebrew, but with English subtitles.) So hard to believe that the composer was then just 8 years old! 

 

For anyone who's not familiar with Alma Deutscher's work, you might want to look at:  - the Google Zeitgeist broadcast from last year:


-her own website (http://almadeutscher.com)

 

Since I first heard Alma Deutscher's music some years ago, I often find myself humming her haunting melodies, e.g. the duet of Cinderella's wicked stepsisters at:

(In this clip, the stepsister singing along with Alma Deutscher, is the Dutch Amira Willighagen, also a very gifted musician, who taught herself to sing opera via Youtube.)

 

Alma Deutscher often says that she can't compose on demand - her melodies comes to her effortlessly when she is skipping, speaking with people, falling asleep or in her dreams. Then comes a huge amount of work developing them into polished pieces. In interviews she come over as such a likeable, confident, mature, creative and intelligent young lady with very special parents, who are departing from the 'norm' for her training, to nurture her outstanding gift while making sure she enjoys a real childhood (probably more than many children see these days). This combination of maturity (e.g in her grasp of harmony and her ingenious twist to the plot of Cinderella, which is set in an opera house) and childhood innocence and imagination comes through in so much of her work. In the Guardian article above, she says she hopes to work on a ballet. Obviously these things can't be rushed, but I do dream about the possibilities....

 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

On Monday (4th September) at 10:45 p.m.,  BBC1 will be airing a documentary about the preparations and performance of CInderella. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b094m4f4

 

Alma Deutscher continues to compose other beautiful pieces. Here's a clip of her practising her new piano concerto, which had its premiere in Austria last month. Really looking forward  to hearing the complete version...

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, alison said:

Part of the Imagine series, no less ...

 

There was also an article about her in Saturday's Daily Telegraph magazine.

Here's a link to the article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/meet-prodigy-alma-deutscher-12-year-old-opera/  Interesting piece, but a pity about the title - comparing Alma to Mozart, while explaining why she and her family don't like the comparison.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched the BBC programme about this little girl ( though hardly the right description of her) and was absolutely fascinated by her.

 

Although she has this extreme precociocity( not sure if I can even spell the word!) she is so naturally in her talent that she comes across as extremely lovable. Her confidence is so much part of her relationship to her creativity and love of music that conductors and  mature musicians can relate to her and she to them perfectly without them having to worry that she is advising them as an eleven year old. Wonderful. Her sister is no mean musician either ....playing that violin concerto completely from memory a gift one is born with definitely!! Will keep an eye out for her in the future and hope she does "do" a ballet!! 

It was lovely to see Simon Rattle talking about her as well.

He was a bit of a podigy himself at eleven and his successful career was predicted for him at that age by other conductors and musicians.

I used to work with his father in Liverpool and have always admired what he did for the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra when he could have had more lucrative appointments earlier. Another person living through and for music. 

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was looking at some YouTube videos of Alma Deutsch and of Amira Willighagen, and it raised an issue I've already been a bit concerned about, especially after also seeing the one of Laura Bretan at America's Got Talent and reading some of what professional singers have said about her.

 

It sounds as though professionals are genuinely worried for these young girls (not including Alma in this) who are singing showy opera arias at talent shows at very young ages and without much if any training. They're pointing out deficiencies of technique which are likely to not only impede progress but also result in injury if not corrected sooner rather than later, and also explaining why the arias being chosen for these shows are unsuitable for untrained youngsters. But then, those are the exact arias which most impress the audiences and the judges, and of course that's the very thing which helps the shows get good ratings. Another thing that helps the ratings is the self-taught aspect, meaning that finding a good teacher would be counterproductive to the impact of the singer at the show.

 

To me, this would be like seeing a seven-year-old enter a TV talent show and proceed to dance (on pointe) something like the Black Swan variation, imitated from something she'd seen online, without a real appreciation of much beyond the steps and no real attempt at characterization. It would basically be a performance that would be quite unremarkable if the performer were ten years older. (And yes, I remember seeing an eight-year-old Russian girl doing something of the sort in a YouTube video, and was appalled rather than impressed, although I'm sure a talent show audience would be thrilled.)

 

I'm wondering if these talent shows have any prohibitions other than stuff which is obviously dangerous (high-wire act without a safety net or something). Because, if not, they should seriously think about what they're doing. At the moment they seem to be encouraging children into bad habits for the sake of ratings, possibly at the expense of those children's futures.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree absolutely Melody ...for the average child at any rate.

 

Alma is in a different league because she is genuinely on that "genius" level and understands what she is doing and relating to.

 

These others are just imitators.

I was always disappointed with what happened to Charlotte Church here in UK  who did have an extraordinary voice as a child. but no doubt by the time she was an adult she had had enough of performing everywhere and her voice was affected......although she seemed to obviously enjoy it I did feel she was a bit exploited too.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's mostly boys that perform seriously as singers, usually in cathedral choirs, Aled Jones is an example of one that became famous.  Their voices are quite remarkable, Timothy Beasley-Murray who sings treble on the Kings College Choir's version of Allegri's Meserere had a voice that was breathtakingly beautiful.  These children of course are carefully taught to sing though only a few go on to become professionals. 

 

For some children music is almost a language and Mozart wasn't the only child prodigy, even though he  was the most gifted.  I think they should be celebrated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, MAB said:

It's mostly boys that perform seriously as singers, usually in cathedral choirs, Aled Jones is an example of one that became famous. 

 

There are many cathedrals with opportunities for girls nowadays, too.  I wish they'd been available when I was little in the 80s!  Now as a professional adult chorister in various churches I sing with men who've been at it since they were seven or eight years old.  Indeed I took an opera performance course a few years back and it made me feel very old when I recognized a young baritone colleague as somebody who used to be hired in by ENO as a treble soloist from one of the cathedral choirs a few years earlier, for operas such as The Magic Flute, at a time when I was already an adult.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hadn't planned to stay up for this documentary but was quickly ensnared by the truly remarkable story being told.  What Alma has produced thus far almost beggars belief and that seemed to be how everyone involved reacted to hearing her work.  However, Simon Rattle did note that the road may get harder for her.  What we heard was very late-18th century in conception and, for an 11-year old, was quite extraordinary in its breadth.  How she can orchestrate as she has without teaching is beyond me, but we must hope that she will develop in the years ahead.  My fear would be that the critics will expect to hear something of the 20/21st centuries in her work by age 21, and that they will demand it by 31.  But Mozart developed over the years and let's hope that Alma does likewise.

 

PS: How's her younger sister going to fare?  She already looks like another remarkable musician in the making.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Some good news for those of us who could not see Alma Deutscher's Cinderella in person: Tonight is the US premiere of a more lavish version (apparently including some dancers and an enhanced musical score), and one of the performances will be broadcast live online by Medici TV at 8 p.m. on 20th December Pacific Time. That is 4 a.m. UK time on 21st December, but the recording will be online for a few days afterwards for folks who aren't such earlier risers. Further details at https://www.medici.tv/en/operas/cinderella-alma-deutscher-american-premiere/

 

Alma continues to inspire on so many levels... The beautiful second movement of her new piano concerto is now online (see https://www.almadeutscher.com/video/slow-movement-almas-new-piano-concerto/) and she was also recently the subject of a second documentary - this time on the American CBS' 60 minutes. 

 

Yaffa 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From an interesting review at https://www.sfcv.org/reviews/opera-san-jose/deutschers-cinderella-is-a-melodious-surprise:

The ballroom scene (for which Deutscher wrote a toe-tapping waltz) is choreographed with stately grace by historical dance expert Richard Powers.

 

The live broadcast on Medici TV, which starts in an hour, will apparently be free to watch: https://www.medici.tv/en/operas/cinderella-alma-deutscher-american-premiere/ The video will be available after the live performance  - not sure for how long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • John Mallinson changed the title to Alma Deutscher - profoundly gifted 11-year old British composer/violinist/pianist
On 12/21/2017 at 05:01, Yaffa said:

From an interesting review at https://www.sfcv.org/reviews/opera-san-jose/deutschers-cinderella-is-a-melodious-surprise:

The ballroom scene (for which Deutscher wrote a toe-tapping waltz) is choreographed with stately grace by historical dance expert Richard Powers.

 

The live broadcast on Medici TV, which starts in an hour, will apparently be free to watch: https://www.medici.tv/en/operas/cinderella-alma-deutscher-american-premiere/ The video will be available after the live performance  - not sure for how long.

 

For anyone who was tied up when the live version of Alma Deutscher's Cinderella was broadcast from San Jose - it is still available for just another couple of weeks on Medici TV  https://www.medici.tv/en/operas/cinderella-alma-deutscher-american-premiere/  You now need to set up a Medici account but there's no charge to set up the account or to watch Cinderella. It's a truly breathaking performance, which would make for great family viewing. Here's a review: http://operawire.com/opera-san-jose-2017-18-review-cinderella-12-year-old-alma-deutscher-is-a-genius-to-behold/   Missing from the archived version is a series of interviews from the interval in which Jane Glover (the conductor who also came to San Jose from England) commented on how remarkable it was to work with Alma: The young composer knows exactly what she wants and plays a very active and mature role in all aspects of the production, yet also brings the excited joy of a child.  Members of the cast and orchestra also praised her work and said what a unique and special opportunity it was  to interact with a classical composer about her work, rather than just interpret the creation of someone who died a long time ago. A shorter version of Cinderella for children is now running in Vienna. More about this and of Alma Deutscher's other performances in Europe (none at the moment in England) at: https://www.almadeutscher.com/events/

Edited by Yaffa
To remove typo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

I've always felt that Alma Deutscher would have much to offer the ballet world. So it's very exciting to see that her Cinderella will be adapted as the Cinderella Ballet Suite and performed in Berlin on 13th and 14th October. More at: https://idfestival.de/cinderella-the-nutcracker  I'm hoping to add an ultra-cheap stopover to my travel schedule.... Anyone else who is interested in going and would like details of cheap transport and accommodation,  just send me a PM...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

If you are following election results on Thursday/Friday but looking for something slightly more inspiring - Alma Deutscher's Carnegie Hall Debut will be streamed live on medici.tv at 7:30 p.m. Thursday 12th December New York time (12:30 a.m. Friday in the UK). More about this very exciting programme at https://www.medici.tv/en/concerts/jane-glover-conducts-deutscher-alma-deutscher-natalie-image-and-jonas-hacker/ Apparently, only free registration (and no payment) will be required to watch the stream. (If any of you are in New York on Thursday night and looking for two tickets at cost for this sold-out performance, please PM me. Sadly I will not be able to go myself.)

 

As you will see from her website (http://www.almadeutscher.com) Alma, now 14,  continues to gain international recognition for her most most beautiful compositions as well as her other very special talents and personality. She and her family recently moved to Vienna where Alma feels most at home musically. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...