What was the application process for the DFCC like for you?
It was a long time ago really. I remember sending a video tape of a concert and not much more!
How did you prepare for the Competition, both musically and mentally?
I prepared as if I was preparing a concert, deep studying of the scores and having a clear idea of what I wanted musically. When I arrived in London I was the youngest participant (or one of the youngest) so mentally it was not so hard for me. I didn’t really feel any pressure to do well. It was mainly about the fun of making music.
How would you describe your experience of the Competition and what were the main things you learned from the DFCC?
I remember it as a very intense and exciting experience. Having the chance of conducting a great orchestra like LSO is an extraordinary motivation for any young conductor.
How did you feel on the day of the final round?
I felt exhilarated and of course also quite nervous before rehearsals. Then, before the final performance I did feel quite relaxed considering the circumstances. This was one of those moments when you feel you can really trust the orchestra.
How did it feel having only one short rehearsal on the day with the LSO?
Well, I thought it would be more stressful than it really was at the end. I had been Assistant Conductor in Bournemouth for two seasons and so I was used to doing concerts with very little rehearsal time.
How did you approach this to use your time to best effect?
Looking back now I feel I got too much into details, I could have used my time better. This is something that we all learn gradually.
What might you do differently now, with more experience?
Many things, but the past is in the past!
What advice regarding the application process would you give to future DFCC candidates?
Send a video that really shows who you are, not only how well you conduct.
How has winning the DFCC helped you to advance your conducting career?
The prestige of the Donatella Flick competition has been helpful, especially in the immediate years after winning it. Being associated with the LSO is a wonderful step in the career of a young conductor.
What has been your greatest achievement since winning the DFCC?
I have just finished my five years tenure with Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. This has been my first Principal Conductor position and it’s been a very exciting and enriching experience.
What advice would you give to future DFCC candidates?
My only advice would be to be themselves when approaching the rehearsals during the competition. There is nothing more powerful than authenticity when it comes to communicating one’s personal view of a piece of music.