Tom Fetherstonhaugh became the Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor in 2022, following a vote from the BSO’s musicians. The bursary-supported training role, which was soon extended to two years, provided a platform on which to build professional experience and development, with mentoring from some of the world’s leading names in classical music.

Fetherstonhaugh has seized countless opportunities during his two years with the Orchestra, from main season performances with guest artists to leading Schools’ Concerts for thousands of children in Bristol, Exeter, Poole, and Portsmouth. He has presented music at school assemblies, including alongside long-term collaborator Sheku Kanneh-Mason, in North Devon last autumn.

Tom Fetherstonhaugh (C) Kaupo Kikkas

The development opportunity provided a variety of experiences to prepare for the future. When the Orchestra’s disabled-led ensemble BSO Resound united with RNS Moves and the full BSO for a unique collaboration in early 2023, it was Fetherstonhaugh who directed the livestreamed performance – which included the world premiere of Kate Whitley’s Falling – from Lighthouse, Poole. Fetherstonhaugh’s professional BSO debut, in September 2022, was memorable for very different reasons: he stepped out on stage less than an hour after the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (and with a quick change to the evening’s concert programme), at the Mowlem Theatre in Swanage.

Heather Duncan, Head of Concerts and Artistic Planning, said “The BSO’s two year Assistant Conductor placement presents a terrific platform for emerging conductors to flourish and build a professional career.  Tom Fetherstonhaugh has been utterly committed to making the very most of every opportunity during his two years. His professionalism, coupled with an innate musicality and dedication to creating memorable live performances, has been exciting to witness. We can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.”

Marta Gardolińska was the previous BSO Assistant Conductor. Gardolińska became a Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic (2019/20) and is currently Music Director of Opera national de Lorraine and Principal Guest Conductor of Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona.

Tom Fetherstonhaugh conducts the BSO at Portsmouth Guildhall (18 April), Exeter University (19 April) and Lighthouse, Poole (20 April). See for further information.

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