BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Kings County Register
This past Sunday evening, Lucas Porter sat in the audience while the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra performed the world premiere of his Port Williams Overture.
Deemed a piano prodigy by the New York Times at the age of 12, Porter is far more used to performing than sitting on a soft seat, but he is now carving out a reputation as a composer.
After being judged the Best Young Composer in the international Notion Music Realize Music Challenge last March with his overture for orchestra, he brought home contest software and $1,000 from Virtuoso Inc. Now, his work has been premiered. Sister Sydney was in the front row of the orchestra, on her violin.
Porter is using the experience to continue composing. He works out melodies on the piano and says he benefits from what his theory teacher, retired Acadia music prof Owen Stephens, shares with him. "I think I'm improving at composition," he says.
He has had a number of music teachers since he began studying piano at age six with Acadia music grad Kurt van der Basch. He took theory at first from Marilyn Manzer and has studied technique with first Barbara Hansen and now Acadia professor John Hansen. Porter achieved international attention for receiving instruction from Montreal-based Marc Durand through the MusicPath program, connected over the internet using two Yamaha Disklavier pianos.
Porter, ever modest, has picked up top awards at the Nova Scotia Kiwanis Music Festival in Halifax and the Annapolis Valley Music Festival. He was a first prize winner at the Canadian Music Competition national finals and at the National Music Festival Concerto Competition. Yamaha Canada send him to perform with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra at a music teachers’ conference last year in Toronto. While there, he won an award for best Baroque performance and most promising overall performing artist.
He has performed with numerous ensembles and orchestras in Nova Scotia and played for Condoleezza Rice at 9/11 ceremonies in Halifax. In 2005, he represented Canada at a world Expo in Japan.
Currently, Porter is concentrating on his academics. In Grade 12 at Horton High School, he is heading into his exams and thinking where he most wants to study next year. The choices look to be the 10-year-old Glenn Gould School in Toronto, which only takes 130 students; McGill University in Montreal and the Curtis School in Philadelphia. "I'm going to be busy with applications, so I won't be doing a whole lot of performing," he says. Last September, Porter played Shostakovich when he had his debut with Symphony Nova Scotia, and he is scheduled to perform with the SNS again in March in Halifax.