CBSO announces inaugural conducting fellowship

Orchestra shows its commitment to the future of conducting by appointing local musician to key role.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has appointed its first ever Conducting Fellow, 23-year old Birmingham-born Alpesh Chauhan.

The year-long conducting fellowship is designed to enable aspiring young conductors to bridge the gap between full time study and the classical music profession, whilst offering unprecedented access to some of the world’s best conductors, artists and musicians.

Chauhan, a final year conducting student at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, has had a long association with the CBSO. Having joined the CBSO Youth Orchestra in 2005 he became its principal cellist and in 2007 began taking conducting master classes as part of the Youth Orchestra Academy, studying under CBSO Associate Conductor Michael Seal. Joining the RNCM in 2008 initially as a cellist, Chauhan has for the past two years been pursuing conducting, tutored by Clark Rundell and Mark Heron as part of the Masters Conducting Course.

In recent years Chauhan has conducted the annual outing of the Bournville String Orchestra, whilst he is also Assistant Conductor of the Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he has worked with Cheltenham and Stockport Symphony Orchestras, the Birmingham and Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestras and he has conducted at Symphony Hall, Wigmore Hall and recently at both the Royal Festival Hall and Southbank Centre.

He said,  “I am very excited at the announcement of this prestigious post with the CBSO and to be the first person to take it up. Not only is it a total joy and thrill to listen to the CBSO (both in rehearsals and performances) but it also serves greatly in my own development as a young conductor; to be involved in the rehearsal process and seeing Andris Nelsons and visiting prominent guests molding and shaping the CBSO to realise their visions, through their various methods. I feel extremely privileged to hold this position of learning, developing and working alongside my home team!”

As CBSO Conducting Fellow, Chauhan will receive one-to-one mentoring from Music Director Andris Nelsons, Principal Guest Conductor Edward Gardner as well as Michael Seal and will benefit from a strong professional relationship with the CBSO’s family of conductors, enjoying access to rehearsals and performances by these and by other internationally respected guest conductors and artists. Chauhan will further work with members of the orchestra and CBSO office staff and experience the work that the CBSO undertakes with young and disadvantaged people throughout the Midlands.

CBSO chief executive Stephen Maddock commented: “The CBSO has a long-standing reputation for discovering and developing young conductors including current Music Director Andris Nelsons, Associate Conductor Mike Seal and previous Music Directors Sir Simon Rattle and Sakari Oramo. The conducting fellowship is the latest initiative by the CBSO to offer outstanding opportunities to young professionals wishing to work with one of the best orchestras in the world.

“We’re thrilled that Alpesh is the first person to be offered and to take up this new role that we hope, will in turn, inspire a whole new generation of talented and passionate music professionals.”