“Music is an extremely important part of my life. Not only is it the career I’ve chosen to pursue but it’s also integral to my personal life. Music has an amazing ability to lift moods, I think that’s because it’s capable of saying things without words. From a young age, I’ve had a longstanding desire to play live music. Watching conductors has always fascinated me but what first tickled my interest of conducting was the idea of being able to influence the sound from an orchestra through movement. For a long time, conducting remained a fantasy which I’d often visit but never tell anyone about.
When I first started to look into conducting, the biggest barrier I faced was convincing people that I was serious. In order to even start getting experience as a conductor, I was having to convince people about the idea of me conducting. A common response I used to get was people seeming to encourage me but in fact they were doubting me, I was met with lots of patronising smiles. To overcome these barriers, I’ve had to find the right people to get opportunities. In June 2017, thanks to a bursary awarded by Arts Council England’s Change Makers’ fund, I began my 18 month traineeship with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to accelerate my development, experience and confidence as a conductor. A core part of my traineeship has been the curation of BSO Resound, the BSO’s new disabled-led ensemble, which I am conducting and leading.
Conducting has been done in the same way for hundreds of years and so it is often considered a very straight down the line thing. I have been challenging the commonly held perceptions about the nature of a conductor’s role through using non-traditional methods to develop new ways of communicating with musicians. A key part of my conducting is my head baton, which I’ve been working with Drake Music to develop since 2015, which provides me with the dexterity and precision of movement I need.
Working with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has turned my world upside-down. Instead of having to fight to train as a conductor, I’m now working with a team who believe in this project entirely. They are not afraid to demand a lot from me and from the performers, which I absolutely love. In August, I made my BBC Proms debut conducting BSO Resound alongside the full Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Thinking of all the great conductors who have performed on that stage, I am extremely humbled to have had this debut so early on in my career. Conducting the Proms was a monumental event in my life, and it cemented that I am being taken seriously as a trainee conductor, which has to be one of my greatest achievements.”