The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) has confirmed that Alpesh Chauhan will continue as Assistant Conductor for its 2015-16 season, following the success of two recent concerts that saw the young conductor step in for CBSO Music Director and mentor, Andris Nelsons, at very short notice.
The concerts – which featured Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony and Strauss’s challenging second horn concerto – received enthusiastic critical acclaim.
‘Alpesh is a rare talent,’ said CBSO Chief Executive Stephen Maddock. ‘His musical passion and dedication to music is an inspiration. Having been mentored by Andris Nelsons for the past two years through the CBSO’s Conducting Fellowship Scheme, and then subsequently as Assistant Conductor, his natural flair and talent meant that when Andris was unable to conduct two recent concerts, he was able to step in. These concerts were superb and we did not hesitate in extending Alpesh’s contract, which is made possible thanks to the kind support of Tony Davis and Darin Qualls.’
Maddock added: ‘The CBSO continues to support and nurture young talented artists. We are very proud of our Youth Orchestra, which is where Alpesh began his career as a cellist, our youth and children’s choruses, and we also encourage and support hugely talented conductors such as Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons right at the start of their careers – and we know what became of them!’
Chauhan was announced as the CBSO’s first Conducting Fellow in December 2013. The fellowship was designed to enable aspiring young conductors to bridge the gap between full-time study and the classical music profession, as well as offering unprecedented access to some of the best conductors, artists and musicians in the world. Following success in this role, he was announced as Assistant Conductor for the 2014-15 Season.
Since then, he has accompanied the CBSO on numerous tours – including the CBSO’s most recent and biggest-ever European tour – and has worked with visiting conductors including Edward Gardner and Jac van Steen.
Chauhan said: ‘We’d recently returned from a three-week-tour, involving 15 concerts across seven countries when, less than 24 hours before the one and only rehearsal for the performance was to take place, I got a call from Stephen Maddock asking me to stand in for Andris who was unwell. I’d supported him through his gruelling schedule of rehearsals and performances on tour, and the Dvořák was one of the symphonies I knew relatively well from this.
‘As a result, I made my CBSO conducting debut with two concerts, one at Symphony Hall and one at Oxford’s Sheldonian. The orchestra was incredibly supportive and played impeccably; I couldn’t have done it without the whole-hearted support of the musicians.’
Forthcoming CBSO Concerts to be conducted by Alpesh Chauhan include its Summer Showcase (25 June 2015) and Shostakovich’s Fifteenth (9 March 2016).