Imagine the level of skill and confidence it takes to lead an orchestra comprised of 75 musicians who have devoted their entire lives to music. Sounds intimidating, right? Now imagine what it’s like to do that at the young age of 11.
The Huffington Post reports that Matthew Smith will be breaking a new record on April 2 when he conducts a performance of Johann Strauss’ operetta Die Fledermaus by the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra.
To prepare, Smith has been meeting with the orchestra once a week to practice and has now memorized the piece he first heard when he was only 7.
“At first I was nervous but you just get used to doing it, but the thing is you just have to keep counting the beats,” said the already talented violinist.
The record for the youngest conductor to lead a 75-piece orchestra is currently held by a Venezuelan child who led a youth orchestra when he was only 14.
“Successful conductors have to be team managers, leaders, motivators and diplomats, and these people skills take time to develop and require a level of maturity that only comes with years of experience,” said Neil Bennison, music program manager at the Royal Concert Hall. “Orchestras can be pretty merciless to conductors for whom they have no respect, so you’d have to be a supremely confident young maestro to win over a lot of hardened professional musicians.”
Everyone will be watching as the United Kingdom prodigy looks to make history in just over a week.