The Maestro Factor: Student conductors compete on 2 December

Posted by mjs76 at Nov 24, 2011 09:25 AM |
Unique concert gives seven talented students the chance to conduct a full orchestra.

You can sit in your bedroom learning how to play the guitar or saxophone. You can jam with a band or rehearse with a choir. But how exactly does an aspiring conductor take his or her first steps in that direction? You do sort of need an orchestra.

Fortunately, we have one: the University of Leicester Orchestral Society. And on Friday 2 December in a special concert, seven of our students will get the chance to wield a baton in a competition we call… 'The Maestro Factor'!

The students have been tutored by Professor Robin O’Neill from the Royal College of Music and also received assistance and advice from Dr Paul Jenkins, the University Orchestra’s regular conductor. For the contest, each student will conduct one movement from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. The audience and the orchestra will then have the opportunity to cast their votes to determine the winner.

The Maestro Factor takes place in Fraser Noble Hall on London Road on Friday 2 December 2011, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6/£5/£4 available from Embrace Arts. The rest of the programme, which will be conducted by Paul Jenkins, consists of Brahms (the Academic Festival Overture op.80), Bach (the Double Violin Concerto BWV 1043 and movements from the Flute Suite BWV 1067), Mozart (two movements from The Marriage of Figaro arranged for wind octet) and Gershwin (three songs arranged for flute choir).

The contestants and their music:

nutcracker suite.jpg

Ethan Cunningham: ‘Waltz of the Flowers’

Ethan is a first year Chemistry student with a very strong interest in music who has enjoyed the conducting experience in Leicester. He has grade 8 on bass trombone and piano and has a University of Leicester Philharmonia Scholarship which gives him lessons with the bass trombone player in that great orchestra. 

Heinrich Natho: ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’

Heinrich is an archaeologist studying for a Masters Degree in Museum Studies. He has played the trumpet for 15 years and has led several brass ensembles in Germany, where he has also attended a conducting course. His performance will be accompanied by a dancer from the University’s Ballet Club.

Yuki Kong: ‘Chinese Dance’

Yuki is a first year Law student who comes from Hong Kong. She already has some conducting experience and has played the piano since she was three years old. Yuki has already achieved her Performer’s Diploma on the piano and she now has a University of Leicester Music Scholarship to study with Marlene Fleet.

Stephen Bradley: ‘March’

Stephan is a fourth year Chemistry student who has made an enormous contribution to music at the University as conductor of the Big Band and the Concert Band. Stephen plays the trombone and is an experienced conductor.

Jamie Wall: ‘Russian Dance’

Jamie is a first rate double bass player and a student of Politics. He has had an ambition to conduct and has really enjoyed the experience.

Logan Gregory: ‘Dance of the Mirlitons’

Logan is a third year Geology student and the leader of the University of Leicester Symphony Orchestra. He has been playing the violin since Year 1 of primary school and has had an ambition to conduct for many years. He has a Philharmonia Scholarship and has had lessons from the leader of that orchestra.

Shannon Stockdale: ‘Arabian Dance’

Shannon is a fine clarinet player and enjoys making arrangements of well known pieces for groups of clarinets. He is a first year student of Geology and has enjoyed learning to conduct. In fact he has already given his first concert as conductor of the University of Leicester Flute Choir (otherwise known as FC UOL).

Saturday reprise

The Orchestral Society are back at Fraser Noble Hall the following evening, Saturday 3 December, for their Christmas concert when Paul Jenkins will conduct the Brahms overture, the Gershwin songs and also Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello op.102 featuring soloists Jonathan Bloxham and Mathieu van Bellen, prize winning final year students of the Guildhall School of Music in London.

The student conductors will reprise their Nutcracker Suite too but purely for pleasure this time. Tickets are once again £6/£5/£4 from Embrace Arts, eyes down for a full house at 7.30pm.

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