In Conversation with the First of Three Finalists of the Young Conductors Award – Ben Gernon
published in: Concert, Whitsun, General
1) What does it mean for you to be finalist of the Nestlé
and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award?
|Ben Gernon (Photo: Kevin Leighton)|
To be a finalist in the Nestle and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award is
a huge privilege and honour. I am so excited to have the opportunity to perform
in Salzburg with Camerata Salzburg, playing music I am really passionate about.
It was a really nice surprise to learn I had a place in the final round and I
can't wait to meet and start rehearsing with the orchestra! I feel very lucky
2) What comes in your mind if you hear the words: Salzburg
and Salzburg Festival?
Salzburg and Salzburg Festival always brings excellence, world class and
prestigious to my mind. I am also reminded of Mozart's birthplace and the
historical beauty and importance that Salzburg holds for all musicians. The
richness of culture and commitment to the highest level of music performance is
particularly striking, exhilarating and inspiring.
3) What is your musical guideline, what drives you in your
career? Do you have a role model?
My only drive to be a conductor is my passion and dedication for music and the
desire to share that with everyone. I feel that music is the most exciting and
captivating pleasure in our world and its ability to communicate with everyone
regardless of language is stratospherical. Music is vital to our being and I
feel so lucky to share it with everyone.
4) What does music in general mean to you? What do you want
to achieve in your life?
I have many role models both in the musical world and outside. I have been
particularly fortunate to have been mentored by Sian Edwards, Sir Colin Davis
and Valery Gergiev. Sian Edwards has been the most supportive, practical,
honest and inspiring teacher and I greatly admire her outlook and technique- it
is flawless and she is always there for me at the end of the phone! She has
been the biggest single influence on my journey as a young conductor. Sir Colin
Davis has taught me a lot about breathing and feeling music naturally- not
being restricted by bar lines and finding beauty in every single note in the
score. He is an extremely honest and open man and I am so grateful for all his
guidance. Equally, Valery Gergiev is a musical beast, consumed by his
overwhelming musical desire and I adore his performances- so full of
adrenaline, intensity and beauty. He is stunning to watch and he has really
stretched my imagination.
5) What was your most inspiring experience in
It is really difficult to say what has been the most inspiring experience of my
profession, and I think it is a collection of many experiences with my role
models. I am particularly inspired by the London Symphony Orchestra and I have
been really lucky to conduct them in a masterclass with Sir Colin and in the
final of the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition. That was a whirlwind
experience and I learnt so much about myself and the music I wish to make. It was
so rewarding and exciting! Equally, I have just been working with Gustavo
Dudamel who is an immense inspiration- his energy, imagination and ideas are phenomenal
(and he's so friendly!)