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Jamie Phillips, Third Finalist of the Young Conductors Award, in Conversation

19 APR 2012

published in: Concert

Jamie Phillips (Photo: Richard Ion)
Last but not least, we would like to draw your attention and curiosity to the remaining finalist, Jamie Phillips. You can see him work with the Mozarteum Orchestra and soloist Ingolf Wunder on April 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm, also at the Felsenreitschule.

1) What does it mean for you to be finalist of the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award?

I am so delighted to be selected for this conducting award. The opportunity to conduct such a great orchestra in this prestigious venue and festival is sort of a dream come true for me! It is a real privilege that I will be able to stand in front of such great musicians, and daunting (but exciting!) to conduct in front of the famous jury.

2) What comes to your mind when you hear the words: Salzburg and Salzburg Festival?
Any musician would be lying if they told you they didn’t think of Mozart when they think of music in Salzburg! When I think of the city, though, I remember visiting when I was very young (about 7 years old) – it’s such a beautiful and well-kept historic city. The architecture is really fascinating, and although I don’t remember that from when I visited, I remember how peaceful and tranquil the area is. I also grew up watching The Sound of Music so it certainly brings back memories. Oh, and the Sachertorte…!

3) What is your musical guideline, what drives you in your career? Do you have a role model?
I don’t have any specific role-models for my conducting – it’s a bit risky if you admire one conductor’s style a lot because you then start to copy them, often without realising it. I try to watch as many conductors as possible and I normally pick up different things from each that I like and try them out! I think this is the best way. As a general rule, the most important thing for me as a conductor is to remember that you are not superior to the orchestra at all, and that you are just one more musician performing with them.  

4) What does music in general mean to you? What do you want to achieve in your life?
Well those are tricky questions! I guess for me, music is a way of expressing yourself through emotions that you can’t explain in any other way. It’s so great that we have this art form that lets us show such in-depth feelings and expressions. In my life I really hope that I am able to be a small part of great music-making, wherever that may be.

5) What was your most inspiring experience in your profession?
It’s very hard to name just one. My earliest great experience was singing in the boys’ choir for performances of Mahler’s 3rd and 8th Symphonies at the BBC Proms conducted by Sir Simon Rattle - I was only 8 years old for the first performance and this certainly made a big impression on me. I got invaluable experience from playing trumpet in National Children’s Orchestra when I was 10 and later in the National Youth Orchestra; watching conductors for orchestras I’ve been in as a trumpet player has certainly been inspirational for me.