NOTTINGHAM, England — When it comes to the spirit of excellence, our youth surpasses with colors beyond society’s perceptions. Matthew Smith demonstrates this color spectrum with an array of sound under his leadership and guidance.
One for the History Books
While only 11 years old, Matthew is at the helm of the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra.
And, here is Matthew — only 11 — leading a full, adult symphony.
Excellence! Pure excellence.
Several hours went into Matthew’s training. One thing he had to overcome were nerves and adult egos.
Honestly, who wouldn’t be nervous with such a task on their plate, right?
According to the source, Matthew would be conducting the instrumentalists through Johann Strauss’ operetta, “Die Fledermaus.”
The London Economic reports that the 11-year-old first fell in love with the selection at age 7.
“I’d seen a video of a young child conducting the nine-minute piece and really wanted to give it a go. I managed to conduct the whole thing a few weeks later. I have been rehearsing with NSO for a couple of weeks now and it’s sounding really good. There are some difficult parts where the music gets faster so I have to move my arms more but I’m getting the hang of it. I have been practising a lot and can now conduct the whole piece from memory and I’m really excited to put my skills to the test and conduct a real orchestra.”
Nine minutes long!
Nine minutes can seem like 90 minutes when you’re in a stressful situation. However, while undergoing adequate preparation for the event, Matthew became more than ready for the task.
According to the source, Matthew’s debut was April 2. Accompanied by full orchestra, they performed at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall and received a standing ovation.
You can watch a clip of Matthew’s performance below.
What Does It Take?
The music industry, regardless of its technical aspects, can be pretty cut-throat.
Yes, even in classical genres.
Neil Bennison is the music program manager at Royal Concert Hall. And, via London Economic, he notes — specifically — the very real pressure Matthew was under during this endeavor.
“Successful conductors have to be team managers, leaders, motivators and diplomats, and these people skills take time to develop and require a level of maturity that only comes with years of experience. Orchestras can be pretty merciless to conductors for whom they have no respect, so you’d have to be a supremely confident young maestro to win over a lot of hardened professional musicians. The other thing is that conductors have to carry a huge amount of repertoire around with them and be able to deliver performances of very different music week in, week out, knowing the ins and outs of all the orchestral parts.”
All in all, they weren’t going to go easy on Matthew simply because he was a kid — a Black kid at that. Yet, he excelled far beyond their expectations.
And, that’s why Matthew Smith is now marked in history.
Matthew with his mother, Beverlyn Riley.
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[Featured Photo via Twitter]