Black excellence

Matthew Smith, aged 11, will make history as the world’s youngest conductor when he commands 75-strong orchestra next month

CHILD PRODIGY: Matthew Smith

AN 11-YEAR-OLD schoolboy from the UK is set to make history as the world’s youngest conductor when he leads the 75-strong Nottingham Symphony Orchestra (NSO) at the Royal Concert Hall in the city on April 2.

Matthew Smith, a Grade 5 standard violinist who also plays the guitar, drums, piano and viola, takes the record from 14-year-old Jose Angel Salazar who oversaw 70 musicians in his native Venezuela.

The schoolboy has been practicing with the 75-strong NSO orchestra once a week ahead of the performance of Johann Strauss’ operetta Die Fledermaus.

Matthew, who lives in Carlton, Nottingham, said he “first listened to Die Fledermaus when I was seven-years-old”.

He told the Mail Online: “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.”

Derek Williams, NSO conductor and Matthew’s music teacher, added: “I spotted Matthew’s musical talent very early on in his musical tuition as I’ve been teaching him violin for five years.

“There aren’t many children who have the ability to conduct a 75-strong orchestra from memory and it’s a really incredible thing to witness.”


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