Mathew Smith, an 11-year-old British music prodigy, is set to become the world’s youngest conductor to lead a 75-piece orchestra. On April 2, Smith will lead the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra’s performance of John Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” at London’s Royal Concert Hall.
To prepare, Smith has been rehearsing with a 75-piece orchestra once a week. “I first listened to ‘Die Fledermaus’ when I was 7 years old,” Smith told The London Economicearlier in the month. “I’d seen a video of a young child conducting the nine-minute piece and really wanted to give it a go. I managed to conduct the whole thing a few weeks later.”
“I have been rehearsing with NSO for a couple of weeks now and it’s sounding really good. There are some difficult parts where the music gets faster so I have to move my arms more but I’m getting the hang of it.”
Smith, a Grade 5 violinist, plays added that he’s “really excited” to put his “skills to the test and conduct a real orchestra.” The tween, who also plays the drums, guitar, viola and piano, will beat out the record previously held by a 14-year-old boy who conducted a Venezuelan youth orchestra.
But he wasn’t always comfortable with orchestrating. “At first I was nervous but you just get used to doing it, but the thing is you just have to keep counting the beats.”
Watch Smith’s story below.