Duncan Ward: My Musical Journey

How lucky I was – somebody always appeared to inspire me to the next level. This led to Simon Rattle learning about what I was up to and creating a post for me at the Berlin Philharmonic.

Duncan Ward understands better than most the art of saying yes when the right opportunities arise. Starting out on an electronic keyboard at home, it was composing that really sent sparks flying for young Duncan. With encouragement from a teacher to “just go for it” Duncan composed, directed and conducted his first musical at age 13. “I went round auditioning my teachers” he recalls, “I even had to fire one of them!” However it was his time at university in Manchester when he really cut his teeth conducting the symphony orchestra. Seeing his potential, his conducting teacher prompted Duncan to apply to prestigious conducting masterclasses. “I had this incredible summer where I got to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra, go to Lucerne and study with Pierre Boulez and audition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” Things snowballed and Duncan caught the attention of Sir Simon Rattle who created a position for him at the Berlin Philharmonic.

Duncan now works internationally conducting and composing but still finds time to support AYM in his role as Patron. In December 2018 he conducted a special orchestra comprising AYM Awardees and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the AYM annual Awards Day.

Part of our 20th anniversary project: My Musical Journey

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