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Dynamic young Shropshire-born conductor Ben Gernon talks to Zoë Beyers' in the eighth conversation in The Music Room.
One of the youngest conductors ever to hold a titled position with a BBC orchestra, Ben Gernon was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017. His rise from student at the Guildhall to one of the brightest lights of the young generation of conductors has been nothing less than meteoric, but Ben’s wise head and infectious sense of humour - also hallmarks of his conducting - have stood him in good stead during lockdown. He talks openly about his experiences as a young conductor in the music industry, the challenge of persuading 80 people to play together, and what really matters to him in music.
Ben Gernon is praised repeatedly for his eﬀortless authority on the podium, his drive and command of the orchestra and his incisive, heart-felt and evocative interpretations. Gernon has already conducted many of the world’s major orchestras including the Czech Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago and BBC Symphony orchestras and he is now working increasingly in the opera house. In 2017 Gernon took up the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the youngest conductors to have held a titled position with a BBC orchestra. In 2018, he conducted them in a televised performance at the BBC Proms and returns with them for two concerts in 2019.
In 2019/20, Gernon was scheduled to make debuts with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Netherlands Philharmonic, Hallé, Adelaide Symphony and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, amongst others. He returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse for his third visit in consecutive seasons, as well as several performances in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Equally at home in the opera house, Gernon made his debut in 18/19 at English National Opera conducting Simon McBurney’s production of The Magic Flute and returned to Royal Swedish Opera for a new production of Madama Butterfly following his debut the previous season with The Magic Flute. Previous operative productions have included Barber of Seville with Glyndebourne Touring Opera and The Marriage of Figaro at Stuttgart Opera.
Recent highlights have included many significant debuts across the globe with orchestras such as the Vienna Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Munich Chamber, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Swedish Chamber orchestras, as well as regular engagements with most of the UK’s orchestras, including the Philharmonia and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestras, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the BBC Proms on the occasion of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s 80th Birthday. He has recently made two recordings, with the Czech Philharmonic for Signum Records and with the BBC Scottish Symphony for Hyperion.
Ben Gernon studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Sian Edwards,with whom he still works closely, and with Sir Colin Davis, who was a profoundly influential figure in Gernon’s musical development.
The conversation – to be broadcast on YouTube and on Vimeo from 19:30 to 20:30 (BST) on Friday, 9th October 2020 – will be followed on Saturday 10th at 20.30 (BST) by a Zoom Q&A session led by Ben Gernon. If you would like to take part, please email