Halle Orchestra appoints youngest-ever conductor

Manchester’s Halle Orchestra is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the country, but their latest appointment has been making the headlines for reasons other than the institution’s great history.

That’s because the orchestra has just named University of Manchester undergraduate Jamie Phillips, 20, as its new assistant co-ordinator, making him the youngest person to ever hold the position.

Phillips, who was born in Birmingham, refined his skills at the university and is “delighted” to have been offered the role. His new duties will see him work alongside Sir Mark Elder, the music director, and take charge of the Halle Youth Orchestra.

The youngster hailed the influence of his university and the Royal Northern College of Music, where he also spends time learning his craft. These institutions, he said, have offered the youngster “unrivalled conducting opportunities”.

“[Being given] the chance to have so much contact time with ensembles with the guidance of expert teaching is fundamental to developing the skills required to stand in front of musicians with confidence,” he said.

And Phillips added that the opportunity to work with Sir Mark was a true privilege and an invaluable learning experience.

“We are all very thrilled to welcome Jamie into the Halle family, and look forward to working with him closely over the coming years,” Sir Mark said.

Dr Rebecca Herissone, the head of music at the University of Manchester, welcomed the appointment of the 20-year-old, who was first added to the staff of the orchestra in 2002.

Halle’s chief executive John Summers also endorsed the move, adding that Phillips had been “the unanimous choice of the selection panel from an extremely talented field”.

The Halle Orchestra was founded in 1858, by Sir Charles Halle, and has been performing classical music around the UK for the last 150 years.

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