The Youngest Conductor to Lead a 75-piece Orchestra Is an 11-Year-Old Black Boy

Black boy joy has spread across the globe to an 11-year-old prodigy from England who will become the youngest person to conduct a 75-piece orchestra.

Matthew Smith will lead the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “Die Fledermaus” at the Royal Concert Hall Sunday, April 2, The London Economic reported. Over the past few weeks, Smith has been practicing with the NSO and said he can conduct the Johann Strauss operetta from memory.

“I first listened to ‘Die Fledermaus’ when I was 7 years old,” Smith said Tuesday, March 14. “I’d seen a video of a young child conducting the nine-minute piece and really wanted to give it a go. I managed to conduct the whole thing a few weeks later.

“I’m really excited to put my skills to the test and conduct a real orchestra,” he added.

Smith’s mother, Beverlyn Riley, admitted she was nervous but said her son, a Grade 5 violinist, is “doing a marvelous job” and she’s “sure he will succeed.”

NSO conductor Derek Williams, who also is Smith’s music teacher and mentor, told Sky News his student, who also plays guitar, drum, piano and viola, is one of the most talented children he has worked with.

“He’s doing lots of good things and he has a long way to go,” Williams said Wednesday, March 15. “But, the orchestra is very supportive of what he is doing and, hopefully, come the time of his first concert, he will be ready.

“We’re delighted to welcome Matthew, showcasing what fantastic talent we have here in Nottingham,” he told The London Economic.

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