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CBSO announces Alpesh Chauhan as assistant conductor

Mr Chauhan will lead city's orchestra for 2015/16 season after recently stepping in at short notice to cover  Andris Nelsons

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's new assistant conductor Alpesh Chauhan

The CBSO has announced assistant conductor Alpesh Chauhan will lead the orchestra for the 2015/16 season following the success of two recent concerts that saw him step in for outgoing music director Andris Nelsons at short notice.

The concerts which featured Dvořák's Seventh Symphony and Strauss's challenging second horn concerto were performed to a near capacity audience and received enthusiastic critical acclaim.

"Alpesh is a rare talent," said City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra chief executive Stephen Maddock.

"His musical passion and dedication to music is an inspiration. Having been mentored by Andris Nelsons for the past two years through the CBSO's Conducting Fellowship Scheme and then subsequently as assistant conductor, his natural flair and talent meant that, when Andris was unable to conduct two recent concerts, he was able to step in.

"These concerts were superb and we did not hesitate in extending Alpesh's contract which is made possible thanks to the kind support of Tony Davis and Darin Qualls.

"The CBSO continues to support and nurture young talented artists.

"We are very proud of our youth orchestra, which is where Alpesh began his career as a cellist, our youth and children's choruses, and we also encourage and support hugely talented conductors such as Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons right at the start of their careers - and we know what became of them."

Birmingham-born Mr Chauhan, aged 25, was announced as the CBSO's first conducting fellow in December 2013.

The fellowship was designed to enable aspiring young conductors to bridge the gap between full-time study and the classical music profession as well as offering unprecedented access to some of the best conductors, artists and musicians in the world.

Following his success in this role, he was announced as assistant conductor for the 2014/15 season.

Since then, Mr Chauhan has accompanied the CBSO on numerous tours including its most recent and biggest-ever European tour and has worked with visiting conductors including Edward Gardner and Jac van Steen.

Mr Chauhan said: "We'd recently returned from a three-week-tour, involving 15 concerts across seven countries when, less than 24 hours before the one and only rehearsal for the performance was to take place, I got a call from Stephen Maddock asking me to stand in for Andris who was unwell.

"I'd supported him through his gruelling schedule of rehearsals and performances on tour and the Dvořák was one of the symphonies I knew relatively well from this.

"As a result, I made my CBSO conducting début with two concerts, one at Symphony Hall and one at Oxford's Sheldonian.

"The orchestra was incredibly supportive and played impeccably - I couldn't have done it without the whole-hearted support of the musicians.

"I am looking forward to working with the orchestra, its choruses and its incredible conducting team, including Edward Gardner, Michael Seal and Simon Halsey, as well as experiencing more of the amazing Birmingham audiences.

"To be continuing in the role of assistant conductor is a tremendous honour for me.

"Birmingham is my home and to be given the opportunity to work with and conduct its orchestra, which is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest, now that's something really special."

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