Salzburg commissions opera from 14 year-old

Salzburg commissions opera from 14 year-old


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2020

The child prodigy Alma Deutscher is writing an opera for Salzburg.

Not for the festival, but for the Landestheater.

She says it’s a rom-com.

photo: Sony Classical

Salzburg is the town that kicked out the Mozart kid.


  • Calvin says:

    She’s a delight

  • Will says:

    Her dad Guy Deutsches went “crazy” recently, shouting (basically) that it’s like shameful Nazi-speak, when some think of Alma’s statements coming across as being more learned by heart, than her own unbiased opinions:

    • Senya says:

      I hate modernist music, but what I hate even more, is when people (in this case Alma’s dad) decide all-of-a-sudden, out-of-the-blue…
      to summon up Hitler, in the thinking that this might boost their argument. Quite the contrary, actually: these people loose all validity or credibility, the moment they pull that cheap trick. It’s just foolish REDUCTIO AD HITLERUM.

      • Servant Savant says:

        “cheap trick”
        “foolish REDUCTION AD HITLERUM”

        Or he just sees the goyim as worthless, in which case it is not a trick; instead he then asserts his authority, and “puts them in their proper place”.

    • Senya says:

      The incredible irony.

      Doesn’t Guy Deutscher know, that this type of stupid lowly Hitler-trick is actually used more by modernists themselves, when desperately trying to justify their modernist atonal junk-music??

      Oh the irony.

      • John Delfo says:

        The cheap Hitler-trick goes like this:
        Call into memory ‘Entartete Musik’ and ‘Hitler’, with the aim of silencing critical voices, or having critics write only positively…
        because… their “argument” is pushed with this intent:
        “look, my post 1945-modernist atonal music would also have been critically viewed and silenced by Hitler and the Nazis, so it is no longer CORRECT to criticize it”

        This really needs to stop.
        Really, please criticize this rubbish. Call it out for what it is: reductio ad hitlerum.

        • Harry says:

          So Guy Deutscher basically writes Alma’s Vienna-text, pleading for more tolerance towards melodic harmonious music; but fails to realize that the ongoing “guilt-reprogramming” of the German and Austrian people after world war II, is the very thing that actually really boosted modernism.

          Dear Guy, if you really care about tolerance towards melodic stuff, you need to understand cause-and-effect at bit better.

          You see…
          Using the Hitler-GUILT-card, is the very thing that helps young Germans and Austrian kids, to really hate all their traditions, and embrace the very modernism, that you are seemingly so against.
          These kids run around and hate all traditions so much, that they raise up banners decrying “Bomber Harris do it again”, i.e. they want Dresden to be firebombed again, since traces of tradition are still present there.

          (You’ve just scraped the surface and have absolutely no idea, how bloody deep that rabbit-hole really goes…)

          • Dkom says:

            Everything that was beautiful vanished after the fall of KuK. Hitler was actually the root cause of it all since he despised Austria.

          • Osztrák-Magyar says:

            I disagree. Modernism is the reason.

            But people like you, who sip decadent afternoon drinks in modern urban surroundings, whilst pondering the past, will fail to recognize this.

          • Connoiseur says:

            Strange though, that Guy Deutscher does not know to do this the “right” way: go and complain with a Jewish organization, who in turn delegate it to some German mainstream media outlet, who willingly and gladly push the guilt (possibly amplified by other media outlets picking up the “story”).
            And all of this, without any possibility of trace-back to those who “whispered” the suggestion in the first place.

          • ExpensiveDelight says:

            Haha! Possible, perhaps? Or an intriguing bit of “what-if”? Or is it?

            But in any case, I don’t believe the story would be noteworthy and important enough, for some organization to want to get involved…
            I mean: in this case it is solely Guy’s personal vendetta, which is so meager and unimportant…
            But he chose to inflate it himself… This one’s at his own expense.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      The intellectually lazy stance of calling anyone who disagrees with you as Nazi is the last gasp of the psychologically and philosphically under-resourced.

      It also demonstrates a shocking knowledge of the face of real Nazism. But, that’s the legacy of teaching no history to school students anymore; it becomes a trope and form of abuse for your adversaries. (I notice Stalin is never invoked and he was responsible for killing more of his own people!)

      • Peter Heggith says:

        History is written by the victors

        • Michael Corden says:

          And thus will her willfully blind critics be buried and their harshness decay with them.

        • Dan Friedman says:

          With one notable and important exception: US Civil War history essentially and unfortunately got written by the losing South (“noble cause”, et al). We are still dealing with the unfortunate consequences of this today….

    • Anon says:

      OMG. That’s crazy. Guy Deutscher is a vindictive and dangerous guy. I can’t believe he went after the blogger like that, writing hate mail to professional organizations with which he is affiliated. That’s petty and amateurish and mean.

      Unfortunately it also speaks volumes about how and why Alma Deutscher is achieving her success. If her work must be defended with such nasty tactics, you have to wonder how worthwhile her talent actually is.

    • anon says:

      Hmm. I wonder why there would be so much sensitivity to Hitler comparisons among the SD commenters………

    • Good article by Moritz, though I think he hedges a bit about the stylistic biases surrounding new music in continental Europe. Moritz says he has not been criticized for writing music that includes traditionalist elements. Actually, he employs a an eclectic postmodern mixture of modernist and traditional styles, often with a lot of irony surrounding the traditionalist elements. It’s misleading to say this shows the establishment’s tolerance for traditionalist approaches since his use of them is often pointedly ironic. We might also note that Munich’s University of Music was known for its rather conservative stance surrounding new music–something that stems back to professors there including Karl Orff, Guenter Bialis, Wilhelm Killmayer, and others–and that Munich was somewhat isolated for this relatively anti-modernist stance.

      But I agree that Alma Deutscher is another phenomenon all together and that people need to take a closer look at what is going on. It’s unfortunate that Mortiz was attacked in this manner.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The rather crazy exchange between father Deutscher and Moritz Eggert is typical of the many misunderstandings surrounding contemporary music. Both parties show serious signs of ignorance. William is right in his description of Eggert’s aesthetic position, which disguises the still strong taboo upon any new music resembling prewar traditions – in the plural: there were many and the atonal modernist strand consisted of merely a small number of ‘believers’. What is demonstrated in Eggert’s texts is a striking ignorance of the all-pervading Berührungsangst – in continental Europe – in both the educational system and the contemporary music circuit of ‘the past’, as if this is some embarrassing association with sin, in the medieval theological sense. His own position makes that clear: ‘the past’ offers many useful elements that can be played with, as long as it is within a postmodern context of ‘objets trouvés’, placed in inverted commas. This is an attempt to create a distance between the ‘I’ and the ‘material’ and to prevent identification. His sneers on ‘conservative’ composers who apparently can never write something good, underlines the type of frustrations burdening so many contemporary composers. That such approach can never result in truly artistic achievement, is evident from his own works:

      What snippets from the vocabulary of music appear in his works, are treated as sound samples, not as music.

      Eggert is, most of the time, a ‘conceptual composer’, i.e. sound artist:

      The ‘postmodern stance’ appears often as parody – which is another way of taking distance:

      It’s juvenile stuff, really.

      Sometimes he indulges into oldfashioned tonalities, but clearly in a naive and underdeveloped way:

      … which is understandable, it’s not easy.

      So, whatever people like Mr Eggert have to say about contemprary music, is still burdened by the general taboo upon the achievements of the past, among which are to be categorized music like Stravinsky’s, Shostakovich‘, Britten’s, Ravel’s, let alone of earlier periods – which has set standards of excellence, craft, originality, and especially musical meaning, qualities which have become very rare, in spite of all the support systems. But that is understadable when ‘the past‘ is considered ’another country’ instead of a living heritage which offers development to people with talent.

      And little miss Deutscher? Her music is immature, underdeveloped and inauthentic if measured by adult standards. There are many gifted kids capable of writing such music at that age. But there is nothing wrong with it, she is still a child. The way in which she is presented however, and the hype surrounding her, unintentionally show with painful accuracy those elements of the classical music world which may be its eventual undoing: the naivity, the kitsch, the Kleinbürgerlichkeit, the reducing classical music as ‘nice entertainment’, the pandering to the worst tastes of the ignorati – all these things perfectly presented in the picture showing a dressed-up quasi 18C Wunderkind. In short: the abberations against which much modernism was a sharp protest. And her plea for ‘beautiful music‘? She was right in stating that there is much ugliness in ‘new music‘ from the early 20th century onwards, but not only ugliness, and beauty is something more than a string of nice triads (as Mozart convincingly demonstrated). The reference to Vienna was especially embarrassing, as if the city could only be a symbol of the worst falsification of classical music imaginable, as a tourist kitsch factory, as if there had never lived a Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler. The statement is too naive to deserve serious opposition, especially because it threw a tasty bait to the most philistine awareness of contemporary music, thus helping to undermine any possible serious understanding of beauty. I fear for her development, which has been put on such a desastrous track.

    • Chris Russell says:

      I have met both Alma and her father Guy a couple of times. I don’t recall ever meeting any gentler people than they. However, I cannot fault Guy for being protective of his brilliant, guileless daughter.

      • Peter Legrandi says:

        “Protective”. With what: forcefully trying to link (unimportant) critics of his daughter with Hitler.

        That’s not “protective”. It’s dumb. (And it backfired quite nicely indeed.)

  • ZwartePiet says:

    Judging by the title in your link “Des Kaisers neue Walzer” (the emperor’s new waltzes) this may be more than just a rom-com… Hint: her statement in Carnegie Hall explaining her new waltz:

    • violin accordion says:

      Waltz is the laziest genre to compose, unless you’re Ravel. and living in Vienna, a sellout to privilege and patronage.
      The last offering was long repetitive and utterly forgettable

    • violin accordion says:

      You don’t need to explain facile music to an audience.even if they’re dumb, it’s patronising and vain.

  • Peter says:

    It’s wonderful to give her the opportunity. Maybe something will come of it. And if not then no harm done.

    • Jack says:

      Looking at (currently) 26 thumbs-down, you can see that the Beckmessers are all over this one. I have to chuckle.

  • Franz aus Wien says:

    This is really bad news. I don’t understand how people are not seeing that she is a fraud. Her father is really good at public relations though. Amazing!

    I do understand that the audiences can be fooled for a long time. I also do understand that musicians who have to play her horrible compositions are not speaking out in public. I also do understand that journalists didn’t want to write negatively about a child. But her last “opera” was just garbage. Her compositions are garbage in general. If they are really hers in the first place. And they were always written when “she was younger, like seven years old”. Though nobody heard them before.

    It’s also amazing to see that no one dares to say in public what almost everyone is saying in private about her. Her parents obviously have a lot of connections (and money).

    If she ever plays in public herself she is nothing special. At best she is as good as other gifted children her age, but most of the time she plays just mediocre. But she was set out to be regarded as special from the beginning. Never participated in any competition or the usual public appearances.

    It also showed me that people in the music business are going along with this either because the are not able to judge for themselves – which astounds me – or because they are payed. Very frustrating. And very unjust.

    • M McAlpine says:

      Frankly Almer’s music sits better than some of the tuneless rubbish we here churned out by composers today. Perhaps the commission indicates the paucity of composing talent these days and the desire of audiences to hear something resembling music.

      • VIolinaccordion says:

        Not just Ill informed ,
        Uninformed, and as usual, lazy .
        Just Look for the results of any international composition competition

        • Jeremy Morfey says:

          The composer in the next village but one to me, who runs the community choir (which sold 1000 tickets for its run of Christmas concerts a month ago) entered his setting of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘The Bee Carol’ into a BBC composition competition.

          I heard the shortlist and none were as good as the one he wrote.

          If you are pleasing to Simon Cowell or Gareth Malone, then you will win competitions, and if you can rap like Stormzy you can even make it to the Proms.

          I don’t consider that very good music, but then I am not on the payroll.

      • John Borstlap says:

        It is the irony of our time that this argument: audiences like to hear something resembling music, whatever it is, is true. So, even music by a child is a relief.

        But it may be helpful to be reminded that ‘music’ is not ‘all about tunes’. It is about very much more.

      • Kevin Scott says:

        Apparently Mr. McAlpine has not heard the music of Jennifer Higdon, Dan Forrest, Quinn Mason, Nancy Bloomer Deussen or many other composers who have written music that has melodies, warm harmonies and colorful orchestrations. New music is not just atonal, aleatoric or experimental sounds. There are other avenues to new music that is listener-friendly, and I wish you and other listeners who have an aversion to new composers seek the ones I have mentioned and give them a hearing for yourselves.

        And one last thing: Alma has been taught that the world is an ugly place which is why new composers must reflect that arena with such music. Perhaps she and her father should be introduced to a composer who experienced an ugly world first-hand in the last century and came back to write music that has tuneful melodies, rich harmonies and clear orchestral colors, as displayed with these two symphonies:

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It’s the cult of the teenager, Franz. Some people (mostly Lefties) love to fall over themselves to fetishize children. Greta Thunberg. Like St. Bernadette of Lourdes, Thunberg has become a cult figure almost capable of curing whatever ails you with the laying on of hands. You couldn’t make this stuff up!!!

    • violin accordion says:

      This is not the music business. It’s a big PR machine manufacturing celebrity and status. Music is just the vehicle for fame

  • Compoprofessor says:

    Not a progidy. Just a girl who writes music like any other well educated 14 year old does. She has a great surname and that helps.

    • Anon says:

      Little girl, there is not an idea in your head that your father didn’t put there. Put down that score and prepare for your proper role as an apparatchik at DeutcheBank.

  • :-/( says:

    kitch as kitch can. Maybe a new Trapp opera. i do not understand what her parents do to her – she should develop as a serious artist and composer.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      They’re not the only parents who are exploiting their teenage child on the international stage!!

  • Rob says:

    She has talent and good luck to her. I don’t find her music memorable or very interesting. Thanks.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It shows the durability of guilt complexes.

    • Jeffrey says:

      Well that’s stretching it.

      Nothing shows the durability of guilt complexes as well as post-WWII, modern Germany.
      Were talking about new generations of kids who still look at the negative things of the past with guilt, with an almost religious, cult-like manner. They weren’t even born then.


      • Harry says:


        Did you know that homeschooling is illegal in Germany?

        I dunno, but maby what some teachers teach those kids (maby unbalanced guilt-indoctrination), might be the reason for some of the crazy things happening in Germany:

        During the soccer world cup, some kids pride themselves with removing German flags everywhere.
        It’s a sport: who manages to remove more German flags wins.

        Other kids get uncomfortable with pro-German sentiment in east-Germany:
        They carry banners with “Bomber Harris do it again”, meaning that they want to see Dresden fire-bombed again (as it was during WWII); because they don’t like Germany to be a nation.

    • Leopold says:

      So you actually assume that she wrote the music herself?

      I have heard a lot of composition competitions and there are many 12 year old children who are better than her and are even original in some places.

      As for her violin playing, I don’t know enough about that, but also judging from concerts or competitions where 13 year old children are playing I find that many of them are much better than her.

      Same goes for her piano playing. Except that she is really not very good at that at all.

      There is a reason why her father avoids her being put in a place where she can be compared to other children at the same age.

      The one thing where she is exceptional talented is acting. She knows her texts very well and is able to answer every question with prepared statements that almost fit perfectly every time and are exactly what audiences want to hear to imagine her as a child prodigy and to buy the product.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Poor girl, having to cope with a father like that

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Not like Leopold, aye. Mozart was permanently infantilized by his authoritarian father. Some people never learn. What’s new?

      • Linguistic Excellence says:

        That’s stretching an argument so much… that my head just exploded.
        Come on.

        Leopold was Leopold, but Guy is just a sorry poor guy.

      • violin accordion says:

        Check out the article by Palomino:

        Child abuse in the Mozart Family.

        • Holly says:

          Taking today’s spoiled brat psycho-people (who analyze gender-neural toilets, and learn gendering pronouns), to analyze the Mozart family, is telling…
          But yes, might interest “some”…

  • Anon says:

    Watching her interviews and demonstrations, I find her to be a very annoying child. Affected and saccharine and not genuine. Watching her is like eating too much sweet candy. She’s over the top, IMHO.

    Talent comes in all guises, though, so I keep an open mind. But her image, which I suspect has been created by her father, is not at all appealing.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      My response was the same, but she IS a child and therefore judgment about her personality should be reserved until she is in her majority. Until then, look no further than parenting.

      I have in-laws (outlaws?) who had very talented and precious children; all were ‘hot-housed’ by the parents and all 3 have grown up dysfunctional and with upside down lives. Successful in careers, yes, but brought up to believe in anything and everything they now have little grasp of values which would take them to the scaffolds to defend.

      Smothering children – for whatever reason – is a form of abuse.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Agreed. It all feels wrong.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Agreed. The affectations are awful, and burdens any talent the little thing may have, with the fake of kitsch.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Is English her first language ? She sounds quite strange and I find it impossible to place. Is it a version of Received Pronounciatio ?

    German is something she’s learning at the moment apparently.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I saw her interviewed on U-Tube a while back and it was an un-nerving experience, to tell truth. This had ‘controlling parents’ written all over it.

      Like those brainy kids on TV “Brightest Kids” programs, basically really all competing for their parents’ affection!!

      • Jeremy Morfey says:

        Actually it was the other way round. Alma controls her parents, and they have their work cut out calming down her ambitions, insisting that she tries to lead a normal childhood, when what she wants to do is to transform the world with music.

        Alma’s No.1 fan is little sister Helen, three years younger. She is terrific front of house. Once she scolded an audience “you’re not clapping loud enough”. I asked her if there was going to be a full house for Alma’s forthcoming shows. Helen looked witheringly at me and answered “of course!”.

    • 18mebrumaire says:

      Probably the strain of having to cope with her father.

    • violin accordion says:

      It would have to be Austro German as she’s a Wiener Schnitzel

    • Steve says:

      She sounds quite fluent in German to me:

    • Jeremy Morfey says:

      Yes. Her father is Israeli, and there is a little of that accent there. Alma spoke Hebrew from an early age, but spent a year learning German intensively after moving to Vienna. She told me last May that she gave up reading books in her mother tongue for a year. The RP is a form of educated Home Counties. Growing up in the same town she did, I had a similar accent which had to be toned down to avoid being bullied at school. Alma never went to school.

  • I note that most of these comments aren’t about the subject at hand but the father of subject at hand; so many are straight out of the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th 18th 19th, and 20th centuries when any female composer was regarded as either a mere imitation of her father/brother/husband (Anna Magdalena Bach, Fanny Mendelssohn, Nanerl Mozart), or a phony (did she really write this herself?!?), or a slut (Barbara Strozzi). Are those really the only choices for women who dare to compose?

  • Simon Scott says:

    The Greta Thunberg of music by the sound of it

  • Melisande says:

    After I finished reading the correspondence between Moritz Eggert and Guy Deutscher I felt very uncomfortable (to say the least). It appears that as a parent ‘love’ can change into a weird form of ‘protection’.
    Hopefully the young girl will grow up surrounded by honest and objective musical educators in order to become an independent, real and foremost happy musician.

  • allen says:

    If only Alma would continue to learn and play the music of other great composers of the past. Can she play through the entire Well-Tempered Klavier? Beethoven learned the WTC from his piano teacher, Neefe (I believe), and not a composer since then has failed to look up to Bach. Alma has a youtube video playing Bach concerti from years ago, and I only hope that she has not given up that part of her musical development. Likewise, Beethoven performed the music of Mozart, Wagner performed the music of Beethoven, and we could go on and on. A composer who ignores the greats of the past and attempts to be original or only write or perform their own ideas at the age of 14 is certainly doomed to … well, I should not have to explain where this is heading.

  • Rob says:

    Hopefully, further down the road, she won’t sink into depression and self-harm. Music is the great elixier.

    The first female conductor of the New Years Day concerts?

    • McDonlads says:

      She’s not black and trans enough.

      • Rollercoast says:

        And not handicapped enough.

        Yes we’re just poking fun of course; but there is a message there: beware of the the kind, cozy, correct, ultra-liberal leftist view of “we are all the same”, since their operative is: “we need to forcibly push the most far-out, pink-hair-coloured (downright unsuitable) person into every visible position, for underlining everything-is-the-same”.
        Oh and don’t forget their war-cry: “that’s so DISCRIMINATING! Why are there no moslem… people represented? What about the american indians? Why are they not represented? And the handicapped? The black? the Filipinos, etc.?”

        etc. etc.

        Bloody unbearable.

    • violin accordion says:

      That would be a revolution……
      By the orchestra .

  • Jeremy Morfey says:

    This is nothing more than an impassioned argument over taste that’s been going on over the ages and is hardly going to stop now. Art, by its very nature, is bound to raise passions.

    The catfight between Moritz Eggert and Guy Deutscher is highly entertaining and would make wonderful telly. They were made to wind one another up. Back in the 1970s, the British comedy writer John Cleese created a grotesque based on a Torquay war hero, who was singularly unsuited to life as a hotelier. One episode ‘The Germans’ carried the catchphrase “Don’t mention the war”, which ended up with the hotelier goosestepping up and down the dining room with a finger representing a toothbrush moustache, and the German guests in tears. It seems that in this current spat, someone mentioned the war!

    Alma Deutscher, whose beloved grandmother was not born until after the war, is far more concerned with the tunefulness she finds pleasing, and knows her audiences do too. For her the “avant garde” is something to be mocked, and in doing so, she gets a big thumbs-up from her audiences, sick of the sneering unpleasantness of a lot of modern music. My own bug-bear is rap, drill, hip-hop or whatever, which is trending, but is deeply destructive to the human spirit, whereas Alma’s music is not.

    Moritz Eggert too has his audiences, who appreciate his tongue-in-cheek experimentation with anti-tonality, deliberately calculated to shock and outrage the conservatives. He is like the Monster Raving Loony Party in Britain, and I suspect does not take itself as seriously as others do.

    Alma Deutscher has found her home in the highly conservative and tortuous conventions of Austrian etiquette, and it’s to be expected that the cities of Mozart and Strauss has taken her to their hearts. I wish her well, and to be honest, she may not always be taking herself quite so seriously as we imagine.

    • violinaccordion says:

      This is an impassioned argument about lack of taste and discernment.

      My “bugbear “is the shallowness of show business, the emptiness of celebrity and creation of status through banality and mediocrity, which is as far from the Classical Music Business as could be . You quote that “ art raises passions “ , but her music is a pale imitation of Art, calculated to draw in and play her audience creating a demographic who would kill at the slightest critique or negative observation even from professionals, who they call “jealous” , or “ what opera have you written? “
      Paradoxically, a Berlin Wall has been built around her, and yet none of the great works of German or Austrian composers are to be heard ?

      The popular satirical TV scripts of John Cleese are far removed from thinly veiled and totally unwarranted threats of criminal antisemitism. To bring history of war, dictators and politics into critique of music is anathema, soured by insecurity and angry defensiveness.

      She’s using her scripted “ugly music”
      Shtick for her own ends , to play to the gallery , who beg for more, and even cheer when she writes
      Some vacuous “ atonal “ music , a bunch of awkward glissandi and random noise which the orchestra and even conductor struggle with. It’s merely cosmetic and for the sake of sticking two fingers up.

      And no doubt “orchestrated “ by the PR
      Machine .

      She has found her natural home in the stultifying claustrophobia of Vienna, wealth Patronage privilege society, where they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet.

  • Hugo shapland says:

    Actually they did all they could to keep Mozart , refusing his resignation. Mozart himself was desperate to leave. Finally to save face they did kick him out – physically.

    • John Borstlap says:

      As far as I know, Mozart asked for periods in Vienna to develop as a musician, which would also be advantageous to the archbishop’s cultural profile, but he was refused.

  • H. Goldberg says:

    The Menuhins would good for Alma, to broaden her horizons.

    • violin accordion says:

      The family moved to Surrey to be next door to the Menuhin school, where she was privileged to have probably the best violin teacher in the UK, a revered Russian lady, a pupil of Menuhin herself, whom he appointed to the school

      To up sticks and leave behind such a great teacher at a crucial point is beyond me

      • Jeremy Morfey says:

        I have a feeling that Alma herself was drawn romantically to Vienna, which she has often said is “the home of music” and that the full, orchestrated version of ‘Cinderella’ was premiered there. During rehearsals, she gained the attention of Rudolf Buchmann, with his contacts with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera. In 2018, Alma was also invited to State occasions organised by the then-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Such an opportunity was too good to miss.

        Reading the ‘Contacts’ on Alma’s website over the years, there seems to be a history of falling out with sponsors, mentors and agents, including Buchmann, and the acquisition of new ones. Alma speaks highly of David W Packard, the American philanthropist and keen patron of the arts who sponsored both the San José ‘Cinderella’ and the Carnegie Hall concert. Since Carnegie, Alma seems to have gone cold on America and does not have anything more planned after Vancouver in six weeks time. I heard that they also fell out with Sam Haywood, who featured on Alma’s first CD ‘The Music of Alma Deutscher’ (released in 2013) and who commissioned Alma’s first major symphonic work for a festival on the Isle of Wight.

        Vienna State Opera butchered ‘Cinderella’, making a hash of it artistically, but despite that the Version for Children was its longest run, and carried an important name behind it. I felt that the DVD San José version, whilst lauded by Alma and many of her fans, was rather overblown and disneyfied and preferred the charm and simplicity of the earlier versions. I’d be interested to see what Salzburg Landestheater makes of it in December. They are currently in favour, and have commissioned Alma to write a new opera for 2022 from music she had originally intended for a Broadway musical.

        Clearly, this is a hostile forum towards Alma Deutscher, considering the number of thumbs-downs fans commenting here get, so maybe they have more information to back up their dislike than just bluster and inverse snobbery?

        Having met the family, and spoken with Alma herself for an hour over lunch, it seems the biggest conflict is between Alma herself, who wants to conquer the world Greta Thunberg style, and her parents, who are constantly holding her back and restricting the demands on her from the industry so that she can live as normal a life as possible above all avoiding prodigy burn-out. I do not know the family well enough though to say any more than this.

        I find Alma an extremely pleasant and accomplished young lady, but there is a streak of perfectionism about her when it comes to music that can be quite brutal and hard for professionals to tolerate, especially in someone regarded by some critics as a precocious brat. I can see what she is endeavouring to achieve, and if some people cannot rise to her challenge, then they are the losers.

        Then there is the charge of kitsch on the one hand, and whether a child has actually done the work, or whether it is an artifice created by a team of ghost writers.

        It is easy listening, with ready melodies and pleasing harmonies. It is romantic music, perilously close to Disney, but that’s what it is. It is Classic FM against the more “serious” art of Radio Three. Some might ask which has the wider audience, and whether it is really that bad compared to the offerings pushed by commercial popular music. John Rutter was similarly dismissed as a kitsch composer fifty or sixty years ago, yet he did very well with choral societies all over the world and has clearly found his niche.

        As for whether it is a genuine composition, any pianist playing some of her early compositions will find that it is written for tiny hands and is claustrophobic to play. It does suggest that it is the work of a child. Only a nine-year-old librettist would dare rhyme ‘fungus’ with ‘humongous’. I have identified how improvised snatches of tune have been developed, pulled about and used in all sorts of ways over the years. This suggests the work of an original composer. I doubt a ghost writer would bother with all this tinkering about with the same tune. Furthermore, Alma admitted to me her inexperience writing for the harp when composing ‘Siren Sounds’, and how she hadn’t realised that changing key within a bar is impossible to play where pedals must be worked to achieve this.

        Where Alma has used outside help, this is usually credited – a lot of the libretto and dramatisation of ‘Cinderella’ was the work of others, but very little of the music composition. I did detect some input from conductors such as Jane Glover, yet sometimes prefer Alma’s instincts to those of distinguished members of the profession. I found the slowing up of the tempo at the end of the overture excruciating and mawkish. The emotion was in the harmony and didn’t need any more sentimentalisation with tempo, just a little rallentando to close it off, which was what Alma had actually composed.

  • Jeremy Morfey says:

    If any one of us had to put up with the personal intrusion, unwelcome psychoanalysis, malice and rudeness levelled here against Alma Deutscher, we’d be pretty fed up by now.

    I like her music, and think she performs with great sensitivity. Others don’t, and would not go to one of her concerts unless dragged there by the fingernails. Luckily there are enough musicians in the world to cater for all tastes.

    We sometimes forget that she is a professional musician, and has been for seven years already (that first CD was released in 2013, with a short opera already in the bag), and intends to keep going for a while yet. Like all pros, if she can attract a paying audience, then she is doing her job, and we need ask no more of her than that. If nobody wanted to hear her, then she can go and work on a checkout instead, and nobody would think ill of that in the way she has been insulted here. If she were a fraud or commercially manufactured like the Monkees or any number of talentless boybands (and I don’t think she is, having met her and spoken with her for an hour last year), would it matter?

    Salzburg State Theatre is also a professional organisation – I doubt they would bother with commissioning an opera for 2022 unless they thought it was a viable proposition. They have confidence that this 17-year-old will not disappoint, and if she does, then they could always put on ‘The Magic Flute’ instead. There are plenty of very successful artistes who flop from time to time, and the test of a true pro is to put it behind and go onto the next project. The only time I remember Alma Deutscher not filling a hall was when in 2018 she toured Switzerland for a feminist organisation eager to promote women exclusively.

    As for Guy Deutscher, he has an obligation to act as his daughter’s legal guardian until she has reached majority, which is three years off still. He doesn’t have any choice in the matter, and must do it to the best of his ability, as would any parent. If he defends his family honour, he is doing no more than would be expected of any emancipated man.

    • violinaccordion says:

      As you said she is a professional musician, earning more money for a few gigs than any top London Orchestra Leader. And on prominent platforms and global media. Then she should be open and transparent , and indeed welcoming objective and often professional criticism , when in fact on many platforms, it is absent and commenters are blocked. Thankfully here we have a professional musical blog where all points of view are welcomed and moderated. You speak in platitudes, yet complain about intrusion. I’m sure you’re aware of the long and honourable history of Music Criticism and it’s not a question whether something will “disappoint” , as you said everything is a sellout, for reasons of cult following, Rather than mainline Classic Music. The NY concert was not selling until the 60minutes was scheduled and broadcast. Not many have the weight and influence to carry off a coup like that.

      “Emancipated Man” ???(what’s that ?), “defend his family honour” ?

      I gather from others that it’s more like vicious threatening and unwarranted verbal attacks involving bizarre commentary using the Nazi regime.

      I wonder what his daughters think about
      such an unpleasant narrative in their defence ?

      Apologies would be more than welcome and show humility

  • violin accordion says:

    As you can see, all my comments have been down voted en masse by her fanatical sycophants due to my persistent criticism of her music .
    Wherever I go (Where I’m not blocked) they follow like good sheep

    • Timothy says:

      “my persistent criticism of her music .
      Wherever I go (Where I’m not blocked)”

      Sounds like You’re the one with a problem.

  • zuela13 says:

    This virus currently affects us in many different areas. One of them is certainly the home office and homeschooling. We parents face a very big challenge. Since I’m a father myself, I know what I’m talking about. However, I see it as a great opportunity to get to know his children even better.  

    Struggling between being a ‘super-mum`, ‘super-dad’, `super-employee’ and ‘super-businesspartner` at #homeoffice ❓ What are your experiences❓ Check this out

  • Dr Mark Carter says:

    There are a lot of snide comments here. I have been a life long music lover. A good deal of the music written in the last 100 years, is performed once and forgotten, or remembered with distaste. So we put up with the row to hear the works on the concert we really came to hear. The cacophony gets polite applause and then is sent to the ash bin of history where it belongs.

    Alma’s music on the other hand is a delight. I doubt there is another living composer who can sell out concert halls and delight an audience like Alma.

    I think there is a lot of jealousy around. That is not at all edifying. I have listened watched her Carnegie Hall concert on Medici TV a number of times and do not tire of it.

    The cacophony that opens Siren Waltz is just the sort of rubbish we too often get thrown at us. Alma transforms it into something truly beautiful and exposes the atonalists for the frauds they are.

    I think taking the story of the Emperor’s clothes for the next opera is telling. I bet she will have a lot of fun and thrill her audiences with that. I bet there will be no doubt as to who lacks the clothes by the final curtain.

    • VIolinaccordion says:

      It’s got nothing to do with the book of Hans Anderson, it’s Austria North Denmark. And it’s about the pompous over blown over privileged Kaiser. Ring a bell ?

  • VIolinaccordion says:

    Her life is like a tin of “Quality Street “

  • violin accordion says:

    A handful of servile obsequious sycophants relish downvoting my comments and others’ criticisms, which to me is an object of ridicule and great hilarity.
    A particular and entertaining folly, as this tiny subspecies
    only goes to show what a vanishing cabal they are, as they feebly , and clearly vent their spleen on me, who has been blocked from commenting on the majority of her videos.
    Of course the last laugh is on me, and their minuscule numbers are apparent, as they can’t touch those whose valid criticisms reach beyond 200+ upvotes.
    The utter hypocrisy is, that if I suddenly heaped praise
    On her, they would still downvote me, and make the whole business about me, rather than her.

    I’m very much looking forward to her “ninth symphony”

  • Franz1975 says:

    Nothing interesting in Alma Deutscher. Yes, she is precious, but I don’t see any extraordinary talent. The world does not need her tonal compositions, when she turns 20 very likely we will not hear from her (I think she will be writing the same tonal nonsense for film and light orchestras), and in 100 years no-one will remember her music.

    I think we should do her a favor and just ignore her.

  • Peter says:

    Give her music paper, pencil or pen, her piano and violin, and then lets see if she can actually compose her ideas from her head to paper and not use some computer program to do all of the composing for her. Talented, yes. Prodigy? Doubtful.

  • Barcarole says:

    Yes, it would be lovely to have a new TV program where Alma is given sheets of manuscript paper, a pencil and a rubber – and 60 minutes later we see a new beautiful composition.
    After the B flat cheating disaster I doubt she would cope with such a task. Has anybody seen her composing? Why don’t we know any names of her teachers? Is it a state secret?