In my orchestra, everyone is a maestro!

Hardy began his musical education as a Classical Music trumpetist, sitting quite at the other end of the orchestra, he overlooked the woodwinds, then an ocean of strings and at the end, there he stood, the maestro. Since then, a lot of things have changed for Hardy. Instead of sitting in the orchestra, he is now leading it. It wasn’t always an easy journey, but in the end, he achieved something, that, only a few years ago, he thought was impossible.

Going through a difficult time of personal struggle and questioning his study choices, Hardy began to visit conducting classes with Alex Schillings, Main Subject Teacher of the Wind Band Conducting programme.

‘Conducting came very naturally to me and so I decided to give it a try’, Hardy remembers. He was not the only one who thought that this was a great match. His teachers saw the natural talent as well and 3 months into his Bachelor studies, Hardy stood in front of a real orchestra. Hardy has to laugh when he thinks of this moment: ‘It was not as bad, as I thought it would be. In fact, it was actually quite amazing. Alex gave me the confidence boost, I needed’, he adds with a big smile.

Hardy studying scores for his next class
Hardy studying scores for his next class

By now, Hardy is in his second year of his Master studies and will graduate soon. ‘Alex isn’t just a great teacher; he is also a great mentor who really looks out for his students. He opened a lot of doors for us, introduced us to all the great Wind Band Orchestras in Europe and helped us build our own professional network.’

Hardy admires great conductors such as Kleiber, Petrenko and Haitink. ' I'm very fond of Kleiber's approach, his gestures are pure music and what I like about Haitink is, that he gives a lot of freedom to the musicians so they can reach their own best.’

When asking Hardy whether he aspires to become a big maestro as well, he answers: ‘I don’t like the word maestro. It is this old-fashioned cliché of what a conductor used to be perceived as. In my orchestra, I’d like everyone to be a maestro. I believe in absolute equality!’

Not only the Wind Band Conducting students, but all the students of the Conducting Department get a lot of opportunities to stand in front of professional orchestras as much as possible and learn from the best in the field. This is very important to the Head of the Department, Wim Vos. ‘We are a very international Department where often each student in the class comes from a different country. Most of our students already have some experience and studied a different subject, before they enter the world of conducting. This is quite normal. We have many different opportunities, for instance the Minor in Conducting. Interested students can always get in touch with us!’

The Spaceship Ensemble and John Adams
In 2019, Hardy met internationally acclaimed composer and Erasmus Prize winner John Adams during a masterclass at the Royal Conservatoire. He then conducted the Spaceship Ensemble, an ensemble formed by KonCon students and dedicated to contemporary music. Composition student Julian Maple-Oliveira wrote the piece 'An Everettian Tale' especially for this ensemble.


Interested? Go to our 'Apply now' pages for more information about the Royal Conservatoire and the Conducting Department.