Conductor fulfilling his musical destiny
Maybe André de Ridder was always destined to make music.
The German conductor, who will lead the Hallé at a Hull concert this month, grew up in a family steeped in classical traditions.
His parents met at an opera house – his father was a conductor, his mother a singer – and, from childhood, he was fascinated with the atmosphere of the concert hall.
As a child, he learnt to play the violin but conducting always felt more of a natural fit for him.
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"I was fascinated by the way you could show your emotions," said André, who is based in Berlin.
"Conducting is like a physical expression of your feelings."
The Hallé's concert at Hull City Hall will see André lead the company in a packed programme of music.
Beginning with György Ligeti's atmospheric Concert Romanesc, which has an Eastern European flavour, the orchestra will also perform Brahms's Symphony No 4.
Considered the composer's last and greatest triumph, the work has delighted audiences ever since its rapturously received premiere in 1897.
Appearing with the Manchester-based orchestra will be the Palestinian pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar to perform Beethoven's C minor Piano Concerto.
For André, who first worked with the Hallé in 2005 as an assistant conductor, the orchestra is notable for its working methods as its long traditions.
It is Britain's longest-established permanent professional symphony orchestra, founded by Sir Charles Hallé in 1858.
The orchestra has been performing classical music in Manchester, around Britain and abroad for more than 150 years.
"There is a relaxed atmosphere to the Hallé but at the same time there is a readiness to take on board whatever suggestions people might bring in," André said.
"There is a hunger for really good music-making."
André studied at the Music Academies of Vienna and London, under the noted composers Leopold Hager and Sir Colin Davis.
His formative years also included a spell as Young Conductor in Association with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
The intervening years have seen him conducting orchestras across Europe – including the Trondheim Symphony and Camerata Salzburg – alongside working with contemporary musicians, such as Damon Albarn's Gorillaz.
"I have now established myself in certain areas," he said.
"But when you are younger you can feel the pressure – there are all these other people coming up alongside you and there are so few opportunities to show your skills."
Through it all, the guidance of his father has proved invaluable.
"He knows how hard it is – and what it takes to do it," André said.
"My father never suggested I do it. He offered advice, but I had to find my own way."