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 ďLes PavotsĒ, which followed workshops with Leonard Slatkin, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Fraser Trainer and Sally Beamish, plus a Radio 3 broadcast of ďLes PavotsĒ 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 ď8u8Ē ensemble of St.Petersburg. In 2002 her ďEntire CityĒ for string quintet was performed in the State of the Nation Festival. In March 2003 her orchestral piece ďStrength Through JoyĒ was performed at the Academy, after winning the schoolís Composerís 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 ďLake AlbanyĒ and ďLossĒ performed at the South Bank.
Alissa has recorded her fatherís Piano Sonata No.4 ďString of DestinyĒ on the Megadisc label. Alissa has performed solo and chamber music in such venues as the Dukeís hall, RAM, Purcell Room, Goldsmithís College, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall. In April 2003 Alissa performed Beethovenís Piano Concerto No.3 under Frank Wadkin and in April 2004 Rachmaninovís 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 motherís 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 ďLune RougeĒ 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.