Alma Deutscher at the piano. (submitted photo)

MUSIC

Child prodigy, 15, to perform own piano concerto with VSO in Surrey

British-born Alma Deutscher at Bell theatre on Feb. 28

A music composer often described as a child prodigy will be in Surrey for a concert with 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, has wowed audiences around the world with her talents as a violinist, pianist and composer.

In Surrey, as part of a regional tour, Alma will take 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.

(Story continues below video)

The British-born Alma says she hears music quite differently than other people.

“For me, it’s strange to walk around and not to have melodies popping into my head,” she told one interviewer. “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 will be conducted by Canadian-born Stanley Dodds, the first member of the Berlin Philharmonic of Chinese descent and Principal Conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Ticket and other concert details are posted to vancouversymphony.ca, or call 604-876-3434.

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

In a post on the VSO’s website, Alma describes the creation of the piano concerto to be 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 favourite keys, and which was my absolute favourite when I was younger. I wrote the piano concerto ‘back to front,’ starting from the third movement, and then second and the first movement 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 starts with just two happy bars of E-flat Major,” Alma continues, “but it then plunges into the dark version of the motive in the third bar. After this dark chord, the orchestra cannot continue happily, and the rest of the orchestral introduction is in the darkness. It’s only the entrance of the piano that brings back the light, with a much happier version of the orchestral theme. The darkness comes back at various points during the movement, and especially at the end, where it tries to have the last word with fortissimo chords. But the light finally overcomes it.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Live musicSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Dog missing in Aldergrove since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Surrey hospital staff fed by Delta restaurant with opening date delayed due to COVID-19

Happy Singh Eats will be ‘an Indian McDonald’s in terms of the price points,’ rep says

Surrey brewery distilling hand sanitizer in effort to fight pandemic

Central City Brewers is producing it in bulk and ‘more convenient’ sizes

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 2: More hand sanitizer brewing, help announced for those on income & disability assistance

‘We don’t need this right now’: B.C. man breaks up road rage incident

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road in Saanich on Vancouver Island

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

UFV student nurses offering respite to frontline nurses, care aides

Website helping to match volunteers with those who need help with daily errands

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

Fraser Valley care home has two confirmed cases of COVID-19

Two residents at Mission’s Chartwell Cedarbrooke Retirement Residence have been diagnosed

Most Read