Victoria, BC – January 11, 2016
23-year-old prodigy Alexander Prior comes to Victoria January 23 & 24 to conduct a concert featuring teenaged guest musicians from the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra.
Though Alexander Prior is but 23, his experience in the orchestral world is already great. Initially known as a composer, he was recognized by the BBC at 12 and he was just 14 when the Moscow State Ballet commissioned his ballet Moqgli: The Jungle Book. When he conducted its premiere in 2008, he became known for both; and at 17 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory with two Masters Degrees in Conducting and Composition. In 2009/10, he completed a fellowship as Assistant to the Conductor with the Seattle Symphony, and since then, he has been regularly engaged as a conductor, including appearances with the Edmonton Symphony, the Northern German Radio Symphony, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Royal Danish Orchestra with nine sell-out performances.
The two performances he will lead in Victoria open with Canadian composer Harry Stafylakis’s Brittle Fracture, a work depicting a musical representation of material fractures from tensile stress. Later Prior will work with Victoria-born and Julliard-trained pianist Lorraine Min on Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. This exquisitely beautiful work shows Chopin’s mastery of the instrument as well as the incredible skill of the performer. For the final work of the evening, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, the VS will be joined onstage by members of the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra (GVYO).
The incredibly keen youth musicians in the GVYO range from 13 years old to 25, though most are in high school. Yariv Aloni, Music Director of the group, said that the youth are “extremely excited – they can’t wait!” to take part. When one young musician realized that he would be playing next to a former GVYO member who now plays professionally for the VS, his eyes doubled in size. “He connected the dots that there is a professional future sitting right next to him,” said Aloni. The opportunity to play on a professional stage while still in high school is an exceptional experience for the young musicians. “To sit near a professional and play – they become the symphony for one night. They learn how one behaves, how one plays, how one reacts, all of those things are so incredible and so different from playing on your own. And of course, there’s the thrill of the music … the most important thing is to be able to play this phenomenal masterpiece,” Aloni said over the phone in early January.