Opera North Blog

My First Concert: Alpesh Chauhan

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My First Concert is a series of blogs that take some of the world's most renowned musicians and conductors back to their childhood, to recall the formative experiences that led them to a career in music.

Next to share his story is Alpesh Chauhan, Principal Conductor of Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini Parma and former Assistant Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra​: 

"I don't actually remember my very first concert! I do however remember that when I was learning to play the cello in Birmingham, there were so many performance opportunities given at school, and given at a very early stage. This included playing in assemblies with my teacher accompanying (either on cello or piano) in front of colleagues at school.

This really did help with dealing with nerves and being accustomed to performance, but also to show my non-musical friends what I was getting up to when I used to leave classes for cello lessons, and why I had to sometimes stay in in the evenings to practice! 

I remember the first concert I conducted, however, very well. I was a bag of nerves, and one of my youth orchestra conductors caught me before the concert to ask how I was and to wish me luck. I explained to him that as it was my first concert conducting, I was very nervous. He told me that when conducting on the box and in front of an orchestra in concert, there would be no time to be nervous because there are people relying on you, and there is a lot you have to read and deal with and show and react to in real time.

Instantly, that gave me a boost and I thought, 'Right, people are relying on me in this piece, no time for nerves!'"

We'll be relying on Alpesh for a spectacular start to the new Kirklees Concert Season, when he conducts the Orchestra of Opera North in a programme of Glinka, Borodin and Dvořák: From the Old World to the New, at Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 28 September.

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