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“a lot of conductors don’t smile… I often can’t stop myself from smiling when I’m conducting!”


Interviewer: Name one of your musical icons?

Gourlay: “The name which instantly pops into my head is Claudio Abbado. I was really lucky to be able to play on his final tour that he conducted with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. It was a dream experience in terms of everything you could possibly want to learn about the physical art of conducting. I’ll never forget those first few minutes when he walked on to the podium and started conducting Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande . I remember his smile because a lot of conductors don’t smile – I really empathised with that because I often can’t stop myself from smiling when I’m conducting!”

— Andrew Gourlay, conductor, British


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