How Cool Conducting Can Be
On a Wednesday morning I was waiting at Strand Campus to meet up with Bertram Yap, a conductor in his final year at King’s College London’s music department. Bertram kindly took the time to talk to Youth Arts Online about his passion for orchestra and his pathway within the competitive music world.
Seeing as we often associate classical music with older generations, I was delighted to meet a young and outgoing 21 year-old who showed that classical music can be timeless. Within the first few seconds it became very clear how passionate Bertram is about his work. In addition, I was surprised to discover that this affinity for conducting was not inspired by his parents or teachers, but rather, by a fresh and modern platform: youtube.
After stumbling on the works of the famous conductor Leonard Bernstein, he saw how “cool” orchestra and especially conducting was. An orchestra career became his goal and he already started to follow this dream in Hong Kong, before moving to the UK to do his A-levels. Since then, he has been assistant conductor in the KCL Symphony Orchestra, Director of the KCL Guy’s Chapel Choir and Founder of the Ensemble Novus. Moreover, Bertram is also constantly involved in the organization of various concerts in London, including the upcoming concert of the King’s Philharmonic Orchestra on the 7th of March.
Youth Arts Online wanted to know how he became so successful at such a young age and what tips he has for other young people contemplating a career in conducting without knowing how to start off. The first step, he told us, is to be active. Get an orchestra. How? Make your own. Simply get some musical friends together and buy them drinks as a thank you.
These are first-step tips from a successful conductor that has established himself at a very young age. But what is the next step for Bertram? Seeing that he is in his final year at King’s, Bertram already has his next steps planned out. During our interview he told me that he already has two auditions for an MA and is thinking about going to Germany. Although Bertram is modest about his achievements, I am sure that — whatever is next for him — we will hear a lot from him in the future.
If you want to experience how cool orchestra can be, join us on the 7th of March to experience Bertram’s fresh approach on Britten’s Double Concerto for Violin and Viola and and Mahler’s Symphony no. 5. For more information and tickets, visit the website.