Conductor Antony Hermus shares his exciting journey and upcoming Australian adventure with the Australian Youth Orchestra.
You’ll be joining us next year to conduct the Australian Youth Orchestra for their February Season concerts. Are you looking forward to visiting Australia?
It will be the first time I’ve visited Australia, and I am so excited and very much looking forward to it! I have many Australian friends who live in Europe, and I just love their mentality and way of being. I will arrive from Seoul, where I will conduct Bruckner with the Seoul Philharmonic. Just before my project with the AYO I will also be conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, so I will have been on the road for quite a time already! A secret joy about this trip is that in Europe it will be winter. I’m not a ‘winter person’ at all, so it will be great to have some time in the sun!
What does a typical day involve for you at the moment?
My day always starts early, around 6am, and I try to spend a kind of ”holy hour” by myself; exercising, reading the newspaper, having breakfast, drinking coffee and planning my day. Afterwards I study my upcoming scores and depart for rehearsal, which takes up most of the rest of the day. At the moment I am working at the Opera of Göteborg in Sweden, where we are rehearsing a double bill of Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi – lots of fun!
What made you decide to become a conductor?
My decision to become a conductor was absolutely not an automatic one. I’ve loved making music all my life, and played piano from early childhood. I studied Information Management at university, but I also continued studying piano at the conservatory, since I loved making music so much. I was invited to play the Grieg piano concerto with a professional orchestra. One day the conductor was ill, so I took over the rehearsal from the keyboard. I was blown away by how much I loved working with these talented musicians, and that made me apply for a conducting course at my conservatory.
How would you compare working with a youth orchestra to working with a professional one?
Well, it’s very interesting: professional orchestras usually start on quite a high level in the first rehearsal, because of their knowledge and level of experience. With youth orchestras, the first rehearsal can often be quite a mess, but the curve of development is mostly a fast one! I always feel such an enormous drive when I conduct youth orchestras; the musicians have an absolute will to learn and to get it right. What they can’t offer you today, they will go away and practice so that it’s possible to offer it tomorrow; there is no limit to their enthusiasm. It will be such a joy to work with the AYO in February!