composer, pianist
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Alissa Firsova was born 24 July 1986 in Moscow into a family of composers, Elena Firsova and Dmitri Smirnov. In 1991 she and her family moved to England, and at the age of 8 she began studying piano with Tatiana Kantorovich. In 1999 Alissa gained a full scholarship at the Purcell School where she continued studying piano and composition. Her piano teachers included Valeria Szervansky, James Gibb, and Simon Mulligan. 

In 2001 Alissa won the BBC/Guardian/Proms Young Composer Competition with her piano piece Les Pavots, which followed workshops with Leonard Slatkin, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Fraser Trainer and Sally Beamish, plus a Radio 3 broadcast of Les Pavots played by Alissa herself. In 2001 Alissa received a commission from ABRSM to write a cello and piano piece for Spectrum, published in 2004. Also she was commissioned from 8u8 ensemble of St.Petersburg. In 2002 her Entire City for string quintet was performed in the State of the Nation Festival. In March 2003 her orchestral piece Strength Through Joy was performed at the Academy, after winning the schools Composers Competition. Alissa gained a scholarship to study Composition at the Dartington Summer School 2003 with David Bedford. In February 2004 Alissa had her two pieces Lake Albany and Loss performed at the South Bank. 

Alissa has recorded her fathers Piano Sonata No.4 String of Destiny on the Megadisc label. Alissa has performed solo and chamber music in such venues as the Dukes hall, RAM, Purcell Room, Goldsmiths College, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall. In April 2003 Alissa performed Beethovens Piano Concerto No.3 under Frank Wadkin and in April 2004 Rachmaninovs Piano Concerto No.2 under Mark Gooding, and in June 2003 she performed with the Xenia ensemble in Cumiana Castle, Torino, Italy. In June 2004 Alissa performed her own and her mothers music at the Oxford Chamber Music Festival. In Summer 2004 she studied at the Dartington Summer School under Stephen Kovacevich.

Alissa has been studying at the Royal Academy of Music since September 2004 under Hamish Milne. In January 2005 she gave a concert at the Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group. She has also given a recital at the Cheltenham festival 2005, and Imogen Cooper premiered her work Lune Rouge which was commissioned by the festival.

Photo by Dmitri Smirnov


Future engagements include a trip to Seattle in April where she will play a recital, and she will hear a world premiere of her work "Celebration" played by the Seattle Chamber Players. In May she will give a lunch-time recital at St.Martin-in-the-Fields. In June she is playing a chamber music programme at a festival in Gloucesteshire. And Alissa will spend the whole of August in Dartington Summer School, where she will perform her family concerto, in which she and her parents are writing a movement each. And finally, she will play Bartok's Sonata for two pianos and percussion with Stephen Kovacevich, towards the end of the festival.

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