Alexander Prior

Classical Orchestration, Composition, Score Preparation, Contemporary Composition, Orchestration, Audition Prep, Conducting


Alexander Prior can already look back at a critically acclaimed, international career spanning over 18 years.  In that time he has worked with some of the world’s greatest orchestras and opera companies.
Recent highlights have included performances with the San Francisco Symphony, Detroit, Queensland, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, the Calgary Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid (the orchestra of Teatro Reál), the Badische Staatskapelle Karslsruhe, and the Brevard Festival Orchestra.
Further collaborations include performances with the Dallas Symphony, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, the Düsseldorf Symphoniker, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Spanish Radio Orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Camerata Salzburg, the Estonian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Polish National Orchestra, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, I Musici of Montreal, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and the Kristiansand, Helsingborg, and Aarhus Symphony Orchestras.
Appointed as Chief Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at just 22 years of age (with 2 designate seasons prior to commencing his full tenure in 2017), he became the youngest ever Chief Conductor of a major North American orchestra.  Prior invested greatly in the artistic output and community outreach of the orchestra - championing new music, with a focus on programming which reflects the rich diversity and cultural history of the region. By his third season every Masters' Series concert featured music by female composers. 

Mark Morris, for the Edmonton Journal, wrote: 
“He leaves behind a considerable legacy. First and foremost, he has brought the orchestra to a new level of playing, whether eliciting a true pianissimo from the strings, new shadings of expression and phrasing, or greater depth of emotional feeling…
… Prior knows that the best classical music is not just about entertainment, not just about him or the orchestra or the soloists, but about us all experiencing something profound about the human condition itself. And that’s the legacy of great conductors.”
Acknowledging his privilege, and amplified by his difficult personal journey as an autistic queer kid growing up in Russia, where he firsthand experienced the cruel and dehumanizing effects of bigotry, Alex felt he had a particularly strong responsibility to make sure that the orchestra he lead made all audiences truly feel safe and welcome, and that the full beautiful diversity of Edmonton’s community be represented and celebrated. This was amongst his greatest achievements in Edmonton, with an enormous growth of both the size and diversity of audience members during his tenure.

His relationship with the Edmonton Symphony is now in its’ 10th year, and Alex frequently returns to conduct concerts in Edmonton. His legacy in Edmonton also includes the orchestra’s first recordings in over 50 years, which have now had many millions of views and streams; the orchestra’s first commissions; a huge expansion of the audience’s size, diversity, and particularly the presence of young patrons; and numerous Canadian-premiers of music by world-renowned composers - including Sibelius, Bruckner, Ustvolskaya, John Adams, and Rimsky-Korsakov. 

Prior has become a major figure in the popularization of orchestral music online, garnering over 9 million YouTube views of his performances, and over half a million subscribers.

Alexander made his professional conducting debut conducting a production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s THE TSAR’S BRIDE at the age of 14, and subsequently at the age of 17 was appointed as an Assistant Conductor with the Seattle Symphony. 

Operatic engagements include MIRANDOLINA at the Bayerische Staatsoper, LA TRAVIATA with Leipzig Opera, CARMEN at the Royal Danish Opera, RUSALKA at the Tiroler Festspiele in Erl, HÄNSEL UND GRETEL at Vancouver Opera, and two productions of ELEKTRA one with Edmonton Opera and the other with Theater Erfurt, where he also led a critically acclaimed production of Weingartner’s epic opera ORESTES - the first performance of this opera in well over 100 years, as well as a completely sold out production of DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER.
At Frankfurt Opera, where he has a long-lasting and loving, ongoing relationship with the orchestra and the company, he has conducted Verdi’s RIGOLETTO, Martinu’s JULIETTA, and in their symphonic series Holst’s THE PLANETS. He is schedule to return to Open Frankfurt in the 25/26 season. A planned production of Holländer in 2021 was sadly cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic. Following his debut with THE MAGIC FLUTE at Staatstheater Braunschweig he was invited back to conduct a new production of RIGOLETTO, after which the orchestra awarded him their prestigious and rare ‘Louis-Spohr-Medal’. 
Prior has also gained international recognition for his compositions. His ballet, MOWGLI, commissioned by the Russian State Ballet, was performed for the first time in 2008 and it has been continuously running and touring since then, with most recent performances in Amsterdam. His music has also been performed by the Royal Philharmonic, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Edmonton Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, and the BBC Singers, among others. 
Alex’s orchestration of Schubert’s WINTERREISE has been critically acclaimed (excerpts can be found on his YouTube channel) and will receive a world-premier recording in season 24/25; and he has received exclusive permission from the Sibelius family and estate to orchestrate Sibelius’ quartet “Voces Intimae”, also due to be recorded this year.
At 13 Prior had enrolled at the renowned St. Petersburg Conservatory to study conducting with Alexander Alexeev and composition with Boris Tishchenko. He graduated with top honors at just 17, a feat only previously achieved once before - by Sergei Prokofiev. 
As a conductor Prior has a broad repertoire, but with a special focus on and passion for the music of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Anton Bruckner; Russian music - especially Russian opera, with a special focus on Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glinka, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev; American music, especially the music of Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Gabriella Smith, and John Adams; Czech music - especially the operas of Dvořák and Janáček; as well as a life-long and critically-acclaimed relationship with music of Nordic composers, especially Jean Sibelius, Carl Nielsen, Rued Langgaard, Bent Sørensen. Alex has also been a champion of music by younger living composers - especially the music of Nicole Lizée, Gabriella Smith, Tanya Tagaq, Vivian Fung, Missy Mazzoli, and Alissa Cheung.  
Alex was born to a mixed British, Ukrainian, and Russian background, and is a native speaker of English and Russian, as well as a speaker of German and Danish.  He also coaches Czech-language works.  
Alex passionately believes in the power of music to bring people of all backgrounds together, and to build compassion, and ultimately a better understanding of our mutual humanity.

I  have conducted orchestras around the world including the Houston Symphony, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Bayerische Staatskapelle, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, and many more.  I have been mentored by some of the greats, and I hope to share this European and American musical styles and knowledge, as well as my practical experiences to empower students and young professionals alike in fulfilling their own musical dreams and potential.

I offer lessons in score study, composition, general artistic and career development, operatic role preparation, language coaching for singers, and help with instrumental audition preparation - something I enjoy helping people with: it's an art to show the best side of yourself in that sometimes stressful and artificial situation.

The lessons are yours - I can offer guidance and education in whatever area will help you.  I will be 100% honest with you: I am fortunate to have a very sizeable area of musical experience and knowledge but will not accept or charge you for anything where I do not believe I can offer you excellent value. 

I insist that lessons are positive, uplfiting, supportive, and even collegial.  

2 Masters Degree (with a special "red diploma" that notes a particularly special high level of achievement - the equivalent of summa cum laude) in Conducting and in Composition, Saint Petersburg State Conservatory.  I graduated at the age of 17 - the only other person to have done this was Sergei Prokofiev. 

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