Meet Alma Deutscher, the 7-year-old prodigious composer

Updated: 22 Oct 2012
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Most children of her age would struggle to sit through an opera. But at just seven years old, Alma Deutscher has already composed her own. 
The talented youngster has become a classical music sensation after her first major composition was highly commended by the English National Opera. 
And not only is Alma an accomplished composer, she is also a skilled violinist and pianist. 

Gifted: Alma Deutscher can play both the piano and violin and, at the age of seven, has composed her own opera
Videos of her work have been viewed more than 300,000 times since her father shared them on YouTube – and her abilities have led to comparisons with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who by five had mastered the keyboard and violin and started composing. 
Alma wrote her own sonata at the age of six, followed by her opera, The Sweeper of Dreams, this year.
She said: ‘The music comes to me when I’m relaxing. I go and sit down on a seat or lie down. I like thinking about fairies a lot, and princesses, and beautiful dresses.’ 
She added that her best compositions are created when she is on the swing in the garden at her home in Dorking, Surrey, but she keeps a tape recorder by her bed for when inspiration strikes. The idea for The Sweeper of Dreams – which narrowly missed out on a place in the final of an English National Opera contest for adult composers – came in a dream. 
Take note: Alma had mastered the keyboard and violin and started composing by the time she was five
She said: ‘Mozart composed this piece in my dream and when I got up, I sat down and played it and my father recorded it.’ 
Alma’s father Guy, an Israeli-born linguist and amateur flautist, said he realised his daughter had a connection with music when she was a baby. 
She was given her first violin for her third birthday and in less than a year she was playing Handel sonatas. 

Supportive: Sisters Helen and Alma with their parents Janie and Guy
Mr Deutscher and his wife Janie, 39, who was an organ scholar at Oxford, moved with Alma and her four-year-old sister Helen from Oxford to Surrey so that they could be closer to the specialist Yehudi Menuhin School in Cobham, where Alma has weekly piano and violin lessons. 
The rest of the time, she is taught at home, and practises and composes for between four and five hours a day. But her parents refuse to let her take part in competitions or music exams, and have turned down invitations to appear on television shows. 
Mr Deutscher added: ‘She works hard but she has a very happy childhood and we are absolutely determined to protect this.’ 
Alma, meanwhile, is working on a cello sonata that she was commissioned to write after performing one of her compositions in Italy. ‘It’s not the same style as my first sonata,’ she explained. ‘It’s very dramatic. It’s more like Tchaikovsky than Mozart.’ 
When she is older, she wants a ‘big house full of instruments, all sorts of pianos and violins, violas and cellos’. 
'I don’t mind if I am famous or not, I just want to be good,’ she added. ‘I look at other composers but I’m not trying to become exactly like Mozart. Yeah, I like him, but I’m going to be like Alma, not Mozart.’ 
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