Alma Deutscher started playing piano at two and violin at three. By the age of six, she had composed her own piano sonata, and her first opera by seven. At nine, she wrote a concerto for violin and orchestra. The young musician was born in 2005 and lives in Surrey, England.
The same comparison was brought up by a BBC Radio 4 presenter in the clip below,
…to which Alma beautifully replies that she wants nothing more than to be herself.
“I actually think that if I was again a little Mozart, then it would be a bit boring,” she said. “I would write exactly what Mozart had written before. I think I would prefer to be a little Alma.”
She also talks about her way of composing in which melodies come to her when she is swinging or skipping rope, and telling stories in her head.
In an interview with ZeitgeistMinds, she explains: “When I try to get a melody, it never comes to me. It usually comes to me either when I’m resting or when I’m just sitting at the piano improvising, or when I’m skipping with my skipping rope. Or even when I’m trying to do something else, when somebody is talking to me, or I’m trying to do something, then I hear this beautiful melody.”
The Sweeper of Dreams was Alma’s first realised Opera, and was from Neil Gaiman’s story of the same title. The opera was performed in Israel in 2013. Parts of this score came to Alma in a dream.
In the same interview with ZeitgeistMinds, Alma discusses how she favors stories about girls overcoming adversity. She says the main character of The Sweeper of Dreams “…committed two terrible crimes: the first was being a child, the second was being female. But despite that, she manages to triumph in the end.”
Her parents say her talent was evident early on. When Alma was 3 years old, they were playing a lullaby by Richard Strauss, and she said to her parents: “How can music be so beautiful,” she was so struck by the beauty of it.
Her father used language experiments with Alma in the first years of life that related to his professional research in linguistics. One interesting thing was he made sure never to tell her that the sky was “blue.”
It was in an effort to understand why ancient cultures never used this term for the sky. Alma called the clear sky “white” instead of “blue,” which was reported in Guy Deutscher’s book Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages.
Alma registered to go to school at five, but didn’t have a good experience on orientation day, so she was home-schooled instead. In a BBC interview, she says:
“I never want to go to school. I have to go outside and get fresh air, and read.”
Alma also talks about her improvising on a classical music program of the Israel Educational Television called Inetermezzo with Arik. She improvises a few pieces on the show, and when she was asked if she felt free to break musical rules, she replied that she stays within them and referenced the Galant composers (a musical style that returned to simplicity following the Baroque period) and their adherence to established musical form.
I’ll leave you with a clip of Alma Deutscher rehearsing with the Tokyo Sinfonia:
Explore more and keep up-to-date with news on Alma Deutscher’s website.