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Tianyi Talks Orchestral Conducting

3 July 2014

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Originally from New Zealand, Tianyi Lu completed her first masters degree in conducting in Melbourne, Australia before coming to the UK to continue her studies on RWCMD’s two-year orchestral conducting programme. Here she talks conducting, collaboration and living in Cardiff.

“Conducting is a lifelong study and I knew I wanted to come to the UK to continue my learning but I didn’t want to live in a busy city like London – I wanted to be somewhere I could think, and have time and space to develop my skills. I am really happy at RWCMD. My teacher, David Jones, is fantastic. He is very supportive and has developed my technique a lot over the past year.

The opportunity to work with the musicians here is a real joy – there are such talented people from all over the world. At the moment I’m rehearsing with full orchestra for my first recital – which is from Britten’s Four Sea Interludes. The players are brilliant and so attentive – it’s sounding great and I’m really looking forward to it.

I want to spend as much time as possible on the podium while I’m here, so I’m getting involved in lots of different things from brass ensembles to baroque groups. One of the great things about the College is that we get one week each term when we can organise our own ensembles and get more opportunities to conduct. People here are very enthusiastic and keen to get involved. Last term, in collaboration with another conductor, we put together a concert of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn for chamber orchestra in the Dora Stoutzker Hall.

It’s a very practical, hands-on course but I can also attend lectures on entrepreneurship and what the industry is like, or classes in specialist areas like choral conducting, and early music. I have been to a few of Rachel Podger’s classes, which were amazing.

Cardiff is a great city to live in – it’s not too expensive or too busy but there’s a lot going on. While I’ve been here, I’ve also been able to get to masterclasses in Berlin and St Petersburg, and I often go to watch rehearsals and things in London, which is only two hours by train. I think this is the perfect base for me to explore and grow as a musician.”