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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK
UK teen conducts Moscow ballet
Alex Prior
Alex has been writing music since the age of eight
A British teenager is conducting the premiere of his own ballet, based on Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, at Moscow's New Opera Theatre.

Alex Prior, 14, from London, the great-great grandson of actor and director Konstantin Stanislavsky, wrote the score to the ballet, called Mowgli.

The work will also be performed at the Kremlin and the Bolshoi theatre, before touring internationally.

Mowgli has been choreographed by two former Bolshoi Ballet stars.

'Exceptionally gifted'

Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasilyev asked Alex, who studies at St Petersburg Conservatoire, to write a score for them after he sent them the music for his first ballet.

As Alex was preparing for his final rehearsals, he said: "I had my first ballet - a one-act ballet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - which I sent to the choreographers on the recommendation of various composers in Petersburg who liked it.

"They said they enjoyed the music very much, but they'd always dreamed of putting on Mowgli, or the Jungle Book.

"It was going to be a one-act ballet at first, but it grew into a two-act ballet."

He added: "The inspiration came from my ideas and from the book. It really goes along with different images from different things, like the animals and their characters, to things like the end of the tragedy which Mowgli faces, choosing between two mothers."

Ms Kasatkina is quoted on Alex's website as saying: "Alex is very young and exceptionally gifted. He has spontaneity and an almost childish clarity and purity of perception blended with a certain mature wisdom beyond his years.

"We talked about music and our Mowgli libretto and Alex warmed to the idea. Just a month later we received the first part of the musical score and our cooperative undertaking thus began, much to our joy."

Alex has written over 40 pieces of music including full symphonies, sonatas and two ballets since he began composing at the age of eight.

He was commended in the BBC Young Composer of The Year competition when he was 12 and has conducted the National Symphony Orchestra at a performance in London's Barbican theatre.

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