Focus on Finan

Want to know more about Finan Jones, one of our fabulous “Behind the Baton” conductors?  Finan is the junior conducting fellow at the Guildhall School.

westside storyWhat inspired you to become a conductor?
When I was 15 or 16 I was playing in a production of West Side Story run by 16-21 year olds and  I thought ‘I can do that, and it might be fun’ and that’s where my journey started.  Funnily enough I’m still in touch with the man who was conducting that production and he’s also a conductor now.
bassoon player
What instruments do you play and what makes conducting more
attractive to you than being a player?
I am still a freelance bassoonist as well as a conductor. I love both, but the most attractive thing about conducting is the chance to make music with so many wonderful people and interact with so many different groups and people with distinct performing identities.
What piece(s) do you dream of conducting one day in the future?
I’m split when it comes to works I’d love to conduct. There are so many. I’m a huge fan of Mahler so his symphonies would be hugely rewarding to work on. I’d also love to perform opera and a real dream would be to conduct Madame Butterfly.
What is the funniest or strangest thing that has happened to you
when conducting?
In the run up to conducting offstage in a performance of Mahler 2 in Ulster Hall. I was also assistant conductor and was doing lots of the ‘stage management jobs’. I collected the conductor from his dressing room, went and collected the mezzo for the 4th movement, sent her on, dashed back to send the soprano down for the final movement. Finally I ran all the way round the hall to the back where the offstage band would be performing, to find all the stands had been cleared away as they were ‘blocking a fire exit’. This led to a panicked rush to set up the stands and percussion as quietly as possible (as the audience were just the other side of a set of doors). At the time I didn’t find it too funny, but looking back it was just mad enough to be amusing.
What are you most proud of in your conducting career?
To date the thing I’m proudest of and have found most rewarding has been the education work I’ve done as a conductor. The first thing I did was taking performances of Peter and the Wolf into schools with actors as well. To have a class of children in an inner-city London school, that we had been told were likely to misbehave (even to the extent that we were warned we might have to stop the performance), sit in silence throughout the performance then ask intelligent questions at he end about the music, the acting and the people involved was very special.

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