Romeo and Juliet: Meet Young Associate Conductor

1 August 2019
Ellie Slorach leading a Romeo and Juliet Orchestra Rehearsal
Ellie Slorach leading a Romeo and Juliet Orchestra Rehearsal

Ellie Slorach is our Romeo and Juliet Young Associate Conductor working alongside Brett Morris (Music Director and Principal Conductor) and Dan Jackson (Conductor). 

We interviewed Ellie to discuss her experience after conducting the orchestra during rehearsals. Read on to find out what her experience was like...

You most recently conducted a rehearsal – how was this for you and how did you feel after you achieved this? 

"It was a really fantastic experience, not least because it was a three hour session which gave me time to settle into what I was doing and build a good relationship with the orchestra. The time actually flew by, but I had a nice mixture of working through some movements and running longer sections of the piece – I managed to run the whole of Act 3 with the orchestra which was quite emotional for me as I find some of that music so extremely moving. I have to say that I was pretty tired after the rehearsal but also glad that it went well and that it was a really positive learning experience."

Was there anything you learnt from conducting this rehearsal? Were there any challenges? 

"One big challenge was a simple practical issue of being in the pit on such a high podium so that the conductor can see the dancers on the stage. It means that you’re much higher up than you would normally be in relation to the front desk of string players and I found it hard to make eye contact without ruining my posture! The second half of my rehearsal was with the cover Romeo and Juliet dancers on stage – this was when I learnt the most about how to conduct specifically for dance. It was a challenge to constantly pre-empt or understand how to accompany the dancers sensitively and make sure key moments match up between the dancing and the orchestra. I’d like to think I got gradually better as the rehearsal went on!"

Did you feel supported when leading this rehearsal or was it intimidating in anyway? 

"I felt wholly supported both by Brett and Dan, the conductors for the show, and by the orchestra. The atmosphere in the pit was really positive with any comments from Brett, Dan, or the players given to me constructively. The orchestra were happy to play sections two or three times to give me experience trying different things out for my technique. To have three hours to practice conducting with such high level players is really an unparalleled opportunity!"

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Romeo and Juliet

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