Born in London to a Russian mother and British father, Alexander Prior's passion for music stood out from a very young age.
He began composing at the age of eight and he has now written more than 40 works, including symphonies, concertos, two ballets, two operas and a Requiem for the children of Beslan. His music has been performed by respected musicians and ensembles, and Alex has been the recipient of several prestigious composition awards - at 12 he was the youngest commended in the BBC Young Composer Competition. As he began piano lessons, his musical abilities flourished and later he enrolled in the junior department of the Royal College of Music. At 13, he entered the St Petersburg Conservatory where he is currently in his third year, studying composition with Professor Boris Tichenko and conducting with Professor Alexander Alexeev.
Alexander has collaborated with many leading orchestras and ensembles including the BBC Singers, the Endymion Ensemble and the New Opera Orchestra (Moscow). Highlights include a performance of his Sonata for Cello and Piano at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the selection of a symphonic poem, Stalin's March, as part of the Arts Council funded New Music Day with the City of London Sinfonia. Other recent performances include The Prince’s Feast performed by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican (conducted by Alex) and the premiere of Svyatogor's Quest by the Sitkovetsky Piano Trio at the Wigmore Hall. In Autumn 2008, following successful performances in St Petersburg, the renowned Rossica Choir toured the UK, featuring Alex's choral cycle Sounds of the Homeland and parts of his All Night Vigil. Alex's most recent commission is by the St Petersburg Concert Society, for an oratorio based on Gogol's 'Nevsky Prospekt', which will be premiered in the Philharmonic Hall in December 2009.
His Piano Concerto No 1 was premiered at the prestigious V International Piano Festival in St Petersburg in September 2006. This work represented the 21st Century alongside Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1 from 19th and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.1 from 20th Centuries. Alex was runner up in the 2008 International Prokofiev Composers Competition - his Concerto for piano and orchestra No 2 Northern Dances was performed by the State Academic Symphony orchestra of St Petersburg in the Great Philharmonic Hall. In 2006, Alexander's ballet Mowgli (based on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book) was commissioned by choreographers Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vassilev of The Moscow State Classical Ballet. There have been several performances to date, all conducted by Alexander. The official premiere took place at the Kremlin theatre, Moscow in February 2008 and further performances are planned in Russia during the year.
Alexander made his UK conducting debut with The National Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, and he immediately received a re-invitation. He has also conducted The State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg in a performance of his own String Symphony No.1, in a concert in the St Petersburg Philharmonic Hall entirely devoted to his own compositions. In November 2008 he conducted a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Tsar's Bride in St Petersburg, and this was followed by a performance of The Nutcracker in January 2009.
Current projects include a commission by Channel 4 to compose a concerto featuring some of the world’s most outstanding young musicians. The three-part series, culminating in a concert at The Sage Gateshead will be broadcast on prime-time television during 2009, with Alexander conducting the Northern Sinfonia.