You started out as Principal Cellist with the CBSO Youth Orchestra. What made you pursue conducting instead?
As a cellist, making music with other people was what I most enjoyed. The solo stuff didn’t interest me at all but playing in string quartets with friends and youth orchestras was really where I got a thrill.
Alpesh Chauhan. Photo © Patrick Allen
In the CBSO Youth Orchestra, I’d always sit in the cello section and look at the front and think, that looks exciting, and then I started to get some lessons from the assistant and associate conductor. From there I started to get friends together and started trying my hand at it myself and that was how it all began. I just knew that was what I wanted to do.
Andris Nelsons, who was Principal Conductor of the CBSO at the time, was one of your mentors. What were the most important lessons he imparted to you?
With Andris it was incredible. I spent three years with the orchestra watching all their rehearsals and concerts, and also going on tour with them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a conductor who cared so much...