Want to know more about Vicente Chavarria, one of our fabulous “Behind the Baton” conductors? Vicente Vicente is studying at the Royal College of Music with Peter Stark and Howard Williams and he’ll be conducting Rachmaninov’s The Rock.
1. What age were you when you decided that you would like to become a conductor and what inspired this decision?
I fell into conducting almost by chance, leading small groups in my home community as a teenager and realising, after some time, that I had something to say, something to offer musicians that would help them do a better job. That, I think, is the cardinal rule of conducting: help musicians become better at what they do.
2. What instruments do you play and what makes conducting more attractive to you than being a player?
I’m a flautist by principal study; I also sing and play a bit of piano/harpsichord and guitar. (I’ve dabbled on a myriad other instruments, none of which I would play in public. 😜) The ability to work with multiple musicians at a time on any given instrument is extraordinarily attractive and rewarding.
3. What piece(s) do you dream of conducting one day in the future?
Górecki, Symphony No. 3; Mahler, Songs of a Wayfarer; and Bach, Mass in B Minor.
4. What is the funniest or strangest thing that has happened to you when conducting?
I was wearing a brand-new shirt, straight out of the package. I raised my arms to give the opening gesture and only then realised that the sleeves were FAR too long and I had an extra few inches of cuff showing. Still, the show must go on!
I also had someone come up to me once and ask me where the loo was—whilst I was conducting a piece.
5. What are you most proud of in your conducting career?
Having brought many musicians together to work with each other for the first time in all sorts of repertoire. Many of these people are now regularly collaborating in various corners of the globe. To think that I may have had a fraction to do with that is thoroughly exhilarating.