sat 04/07/2020

Another Brit conductor makes lightning progress | reviews, news & interviews

Another Brit conductor makes lightning progress

Another Brit conductor makes lightning progress

Nicholas Collon, already winning his laurelsMaximilian Baillie

Anyone who's attended an Aurora Orchestra concert at Kings Place will know that twentysomething conductor Nicholas Collon - oddly, the birth date seems elusive - is a force to be reckoned with. When he speaks, he looks as if butter wouldn't melt, but in action his technique is disciplined as well as sufficiently free to get the flexibility he needs. So the London Philharmonic Orchestra has made an excellent choice in appointing him as assistant conductor to Vladimir Jurowski from the beginning of the 2011-12 season.

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Yes, but, once again, where are the women?

But I just saw him last night ("Pavilions" with the London Sinfonietta) and he was one of the most boring dull conductors I've ever seen! Yes, just another safe bet: but where's the life, where's the genuine spark? No, taking on a woman would be too much of a dodgy Artistic risk. Carry on the treadmill in the same old unmessy, neatly ironed, bejumpered classical music world. (And don't worry Mr D, if that concert comes up here, I'll probably give it all I've got for the utterly banal and boring so-called new music middle-England fare the Sinfonietta were putting on too) But everyone loves it! And these safe conductors!

The first thing to be said is that talent's talent, and I stick by that from what I've seen. But Mike is right to ask that question, and it can hardly be coincidence that three of the best young contenders - Collon, Ed Gardner and Leo Hussain - are all old Etonians. Now that our orchestras are roughly 50-50 in the distribution of the sexes, conducting can't be far behind. I'd like to see more of Carolyn Kuan, regarded by most of the other participants on the Orkney Conducting Course the year I attended as the most promising. Susanna Malkki gave a stunning concert with the BBC Symphony, too, and it would be good for their reputation if they considered her as next principal conductor. Sez I, anyway. But, yes, we need to actively nurture more.

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