An Interview with Eduardo Portal

Following his performance with the RPO and Natasha Paremski last month at the Royal Albert Hall (The Great Classics), conductor Eduardo Portal talks to Hannah Nepil about what it takes to be a professional conductor.

Who can resist the whiff of danger? For Eduardo Portal, it’s exactly what makes his job so thrilling. ‘Conducting is high risk,’ he says. ‘Only yesterday, when I was conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I felt that the concert was entirely in my hands because the players were reacting so accurately to my slightest gesture. So I felt that if I performed well, then the concert would be a success. But if I made a mess of it – well…’ He trails off.

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RPO, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Zukerman, Royal Festival Hall

THE ARTS DESK

This concert was part of a tour of Canada’s National Arts Centre orchestra to five cities in the UK themed around the anniversary of the start of World War One. The Ottawa-based orchestra joined forces with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir for this London centrepiece to the tour, under the baton of violinist-turned-conductor Pinchas Zukerman. Splicing two orchestras together with necessarily minimal rehearsal time may not make perfect musical sense but, as artistic director of the NCA orchestra and principal guest conductor of the RPO, Zukerman is uniquely placed to make it work.

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An Interview with Amanda Forsyth

Hannah Nepil speaks to Amanda Forsyth, lead cellist of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, ahead of their collaboration with the RPO at the end of the month.

There’s a matter-of-fact quality to Amanda Forsyth’s voice when she says, ‘it was the worst and best time of my life.’ The Canadian cellist is describing the run-up to the 2011 world premiere of A Ballad of Canada, the last piece ever composed by her father, Malcolm Forsyth. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer at the time and had been told he had two months to live. ‘But he lived for nine and the reason was that he had this premiere and he wanted to be there. And he was. Somehow he managed to get, with his oxygen tanks, to Ottawa,’ Forsyth recalls.

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Meet the Management: Liz Forbes (Concerts Director)

Tell us a bit about your working history with the RPO.

After a period of time managing individual artists and then completing my MBA, I have spent the majority of my working life here at the RPO. Starting in an assistant role, I quickly settled into event management, becoming Concerts and Recordings Manager for several years. Then, after a short spell at the BBC, I was invited back to become General Manager of the RPCO, before moving into my current role as Concerts Director of the RPO.

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Latest News

  • Thursday 18 April 2019
    BBC Proms 2019 RPO Concert Announced
  • Wednesday 10 April 2019
    Tom Poster on moments of self-doubt to elation and the power of music
  • Wednesday 10 April 2019
    Diana Adamyan on Prokofiev's Russian lyrical soul

Latest Press

  • Monday 1 April 2019
    Francesca Dego "performing with the RPO? It's like driving a Ferrari"
  • Wednesday 23 January 2019
    Strokestra Features in The Washington Post
  • Thursday 17 January 2019
    Bromley emerges as a new home for orchestral music