Conductor Chloé van Soeterstède appears at this year’s Summer Festival. We caught up with her to find out more.

Chloé van Soeterstède, conductor

What is your favourite piece of music?
It is impossible for me to name only one piece of music, and depending on what I am conducting, it might differ! A piece I love to listen to and never get tired of is Schubert quintet for 2 cellos, especially the exquisite second movement. Symphonic wise, I love Mendelssohn Reformation symphony and Schumann second symphony.  

What’s your favourite memory of GMF?
It is my first time there as a performer and listener,  I am the baby of the festival! 

Tell us a little known fact about you…
My partner and I fully demolished and renovated (with a little help from a plumber, electrician and dryliner) a one bedroom flat in London at the start of the pandemic. I have enjoyed learning how to tile and tiled the whole shower room and kitchen ! The flat is still not finished… (sigh…!). Little by little 😉

Any hobbies?
I love hiking in nature! I would love to do more horse riding and skiing too.

What or who inspired you to become a musician?
When I was a violin student, I hugely loved playing in ensembles, chamber music and large orchestras. But I was quite frustrated playing only my line of music whereas I felt I had musical ideas that I wanted to share with the orchestra too. Eventually, I founded my orchestra, took lessons and worked in masterclasses with Paavo and Neeme Jarvi, Marin Alsop, Sir Mark Elder among others. All of them inspired me! 

What’s your career highlight so far?
My position at the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Dudamel Fellow this year 2021-22 was perhaps the highlight of the year, working with Gustavo Dudamel, Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson Thomas and Mathias Pintscher. I also conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic for my own project which I hugely enjoyed! 

Which orchestras or ensembles have you’ve played with?
In the UK, returning to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia and several times over the next season to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I conducted BBC Wales and Symphony Orchestras, City of Birmingham Symphony, Aurora Orchestra, my own orchestra Arch Sinfonia (founded in 2012), Southbank Sinfonia; in my native France Orchestre de Chambre de Paris,  Orchestre National de Lorraine and Auvergne, Orchestres de Pau abd Monpellier; in Spain RTVE, Castilla y Leon Symphony Orchestra, Tenerife Symphony, GIO Symphonia, in Sweden returning to Gävle Symphony Orchestra several times next season and making debuts in other orchestras there; in the USA Los Angeles Philharmonic and Orlando Philharmonic, making my debut with Jacksonville Symphony and Montréal Métropolitain next season. Exciting other tours planned! 

Funniest / most embarrassing moment in music?
When a concert manager gave me the green light to walk on stage to start the concert but didn’t realise the orchestra has not yet tuned. I walked confidently 5 or 6 meters on stage when I saw the concertmeister standing up and turning to the oboe player to tune. People clapped and laughed as I returned backstage. It was funnier than embarrassing as the audience clapped twice louder when I came back for the real walk in on stage this time! 


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