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She started playing the violin and piano aged three, began writing music aged four, by seven she had penned a short opera, and now, aged 11, boasts a substantial violin concerto among her compositions. The British-born musical prodigy, Alma Deutscher, is being hailed as the next Mozart, and she already has some impressive admirers, including maestros Zubin Mehta, Sir Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim.
Many of her top advocates have commented on the maturity of her musical thinking, but when it comes to inspiration, Deutscher’s go-to source is wonderfully childish: skipping. “I love skipping with the wind blowing in my ears,” she told London’s Daily Telegraph. “I wave my skipping rope around and think of beautiful melodies and stories. Sometimes I hear concerts, people playing beautiful music, so I run in and write it down before I forget it. When I am in an improvising mood, melodies burst from my fingertips.”
Deutscher’s parents, Guy and Janie, both academics and amateur musicians, are baffled as to where her exceptional aptitude for music comes from. They told The Telegraph that while they have done everything they can to nurture her talents, the ever increasing interest in her superb abilities does require careful management so that it doesn't overwhelm her. “In one sense she has a completely normal childhood, playing with her dolls and climbing trees with her friends. Yet she performs around the world and meets Simon Rattle,” they remarked. To allow her the flexibility and continuity to study while developing her various musical endeavours, Alma is now homeschooled by her father, and receives violin and piano tuition at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, just outside of London.
The young musical genius was first discovered after comedian and social media master Stephen Fry shared videos of her performing, quickly making her a YouTube sensation. Since then, invitations for her as both a composer and a performer have flooded the Deutscher family. In December, Alma’s first full-length opera, Cinderella, will receive its European premiere (it has already been performed in the U.K. and Isreal) in Vienna, under the baton of Maestro Mehta, and later this month she will share the stage with opera megastar Bryn Terfel at the Henley Festival, where she will perform her violin concerto.