Alma Deutscher, an 8-Year-Old Music Prodigy
After watching Greg DeTurck perform the compositions of Erica Ball and Daniel Shapiro on Tuesday, I thought it would be a great idea to share the story of a remarkable composer named Alma Deutscher who is only eight years old. She is a music prodigy from England who composed her first sonata at the age of six! America was introduced to Alma on the Ellen Show, where she demonstrated her extraordinary ability to play the violin and the piano. She was also interviewed by Ellen about her experiences as a composer and musician. Alma explained to Ellen that music started to “come to her” when she was seven years old. She said that one night, she dreamed about a piece, and she initially assumed that it was one of Mozart’s compositions. It turned out that it was actually a piece that she had composed on her own! When she woke up, her father wrote down the characteristics of the composition, and she said that she was able to recall the melody because it was “particularly beautiful”. It seems that Alma has been gifted with the ability to craft melodies in her head and to bring them to life.
Alma also discussed how and when melodies arise in her mind. She explained on the Ellen Show that she has a purple skipping rope, and when she waves it around, she dreams along with it. As a result, melodies pour into her head. It is apparent that waving the skipping rope allows Alma to think freely and to expand her imagination. I think that it is amazing that Alma is actually able to pinpoint how she comes up with her melodies. Even some of the most accomplished composers have have trouble explaining how they come up with their musical ideas, but Alma was confident in explaining the source of her creativity.
What is even more extraordinary about Alma is that she has already completed her first major composition, an opera called The Sweeper of Dreams. This opera has been praised by the English National Opera. Alma explained that she wrote parts for each instrument in the orchestra. It is impressive that Alma was able to compose pieces of such a complex genre.
When she was on the Ellen Show, Alma performed two pieces of music. In her first performance, she played “The Bee” by Schubert on the violin. If I had closed my eyes while I listened to her performance, I would have never believed that she was only eight years old. The quality and characteristics of her performance reminded me of Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24 in A Minor”. Paganini’s piece is considered to be one of the most difficult pieces ever written for the solo violin. It is incredible that an eight-year-old’s performance reminded me of such a difficult composition. The members of the audience definitely would have described Alma’s performance as “perfect.” It seemed as if she played the piece effortlessly and refused to be daunted by the challenging phrasing and fast tempo.
In her second performance, Alma performed a piece that she composed herself on the piano. She centered the melody of the piece around the tune of Ellen’s theme song. Of course, she received a standing ovation from the audience and amazed everyone who was listening.
An article about Alma can be found on the Classicalite website. Her quotations throughout the article demonstrated her self-confidence and her desire to be unique. She even declared that she does not want to be referred to as “Little Miss Mozart” because she wants her music to be distinguished from that of Mozart. I admire Alma for her incredible talent and for her ability to move audiences. I cannot imagine the progress that she will make as she continues to compose and gain experience.
Here is the link to the article about Alma on the Classicalite website. On the webpage, there is a link to the YouTube recording of her performing her rendition of Ellen’s theme song on the piano.
Here is the link to the video recording of Alma Deutscher’s appearance on the Ellen Show (which includes an interview of her along with her performance of Schubert’s “The Bee”.) It is definitely worth watching.
If you visit Alma’s YouTube account page, you can find more of her performances of pieces she has composed (along with well-known pieces on the piano and violin).