She started playing the piano when she was two, the violin when she was three. At four, she started composing. Who is this wunderkind? Why it’s Alma Deutscher of course, currently the most celebrated Child Prodigy in the world.
At the tender age of seven, little Alma already penned her first opera, a short piece called The Sweeper of Dreams. At ten, she composed her first full-length opera, Cinderella, where the main character is a composer. It opened to rave reviews in Vienna in 2016. She’s been interviewed on 60 Minutes and Ellen DeGeneres. When a reporter called her a “Little Mozart,” Deutscher had the presence of mind to reply: “I prefer to be a little Alma, not a little Mozart.” Talk about being poised and well-spoken beyond her years!
Alma Elizabeth Deutscher was born in February 2005, to a British mother (Jane) who has a doctorate in Old English literature from Cambridge, and an Israeli mathematician father Guy, who also has a doctorate in the same university, in linguistics. They make their home in Dorking, Surrey in the UK. In 2017, Deutscher was the subject of an hour-long documentary on the BBC. Her Youtube channel has been viewed more than 6 million times.
She has performed in the UK, Europe, USA, South America, Israel, Japan and China. Now she’s finally making a belated Canadian debut, in a special concert in honour of the distinguished 12th Glenn Gould Prize Jury (Viggo Mortensen, Kat Von D, Francois Girard, Ute Lemper, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Naeemeh Naeemaei, Sondra Radvanovsky, Howard Shore, Foday Musa Suso and Ye Xiaogang).
Alma will be performing her own music on violin and piano. There’ll be arias and duets from Cinderella, with two excellent young Canadian singers, soprano Adanya Dunn and tenor Andrew Haji, with Angela Park at the piano. A highlight to look forward to is Alma’s stunning ability to improvise. I’ve watched several video clips of her in this. A guest would pick four notes from a hat, and Alma would compose a piece with these four notes. We music lovers wrack our brains trying to come up with something decent with these four notes. But with Alma, voila! It’s there and it’s beautiful.
This concert is happening on Friday the Thirteenth, and it conflicts with several high-profile shows including opening night of the COC’s Nightingale and Other Short Fables. As a journalist, I almost always attend opening night, but this time I’m making an exception, given that there are nine performances of the Stravinsky opera. I wouldn’t want to miss the amazing Alma Deutscher. For more information, see here.