Leonardo Sini: I believe that a good conductor must be able to find the perfect balance between life and career.

Born in Sassari in 1990, he began his musical studies at Conservatorio di Musica “Luigi Canepa”, which he graduated in 2009. He continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he earned his Masters degree in 2013. In London he studied under the guidance of Sian Edwards and had the chance to conduct different orchestras, including the Southbank Sinfonia with which he performed at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall. In 2017, he earned his conducting degree in the National Master of Orchestral Conducting, an exclusive course of the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where he studied with Jac van Steen, Ed Spanjaard and Kenneth Montgomery. During his studies he took part in important masterclasses with several conductors including Daniele Gatti at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. In December 2017, he won, among more than 160 candidates, the prestigious International Conducting Competition Maestro Solti

After this prestigious result the world of music focused a lot of attentions on him. In 2019, he debuted at the Opera in Budapest conducting Puccini’s Le Villi and Messa di Gloria. His first season continued with the debuts in Opera Lombardia conducting La Sonnambula in Como, Cremona, Pavia as well as at Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo. At the end of 2019 he made his debut at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova conducting La Bohème. He started 2020 conducting the Opening Season at Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari with Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. In February/March 2020, he made his debut at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino conducting La Traviata, while in November 2020 he made his debut in Sassari with Gianni Schicchi.

Let’s start with the moment that marked officially the beginning of your career, if you agree with calling it so, which is the moment you won the prestigious International Conducting Competition Maestro Solti. We usually talk with singers about the competition experience, but I am wondering… what is a conducting competition like and how does a young conductor prepare for one of those?
The main stages of my studies have been the Diploma in Trumpet at the Conservatory of Sassari, followed by a Master in Trumpet at the Royal Academy of Music in London. During that time, I realised that a career in conducting could in fact become an interesting and challenging reality. As a result, I attended courses in orchestral conducting in London, and subsequently entered the specialisation and advanced training course at the conservatories in Amsterdam and The Hague. Following these intense and important studies —during which I also attended short, in-depth courses with Riccardo Muti, and at the Accademia Chigiana— I decided that the time had come to challenge myself with international competitions. Hence, my experience at the “Maestro Solti International Conducting Competition”, in which I was awarded the First Prize among over 180 contestants. Even now, almost four years later, I consider this to be an extremely formative and crucial event in my early career as a conductor. Competitions for conductors are generally held in three rounds. Similar to other competitions for musicians, the three / four finalists are chosen through various selections that help reduce the list of contestants. The final concludes with the rehearsal of a piece with the orchestra, assigned by a jury following a draw. This performance is the climax of the competition and is a live event in front of an audience, which is followed by the award ceremony. 

This event took place in 2017. How much has this kind of exposure changed your career in these three years?
Winning this international competition allowed people in the classical-music industry to know of me, my skills and potential. They also gave me valuable suggestions and ideas on paths worth exploring. Likewise, meeting artistic directors and superintendents who trusted me was undoubtedly the other turning point of these past, intense, three years. I had the opportunity to challenge myself by conducting major orchestras and, in some cases, I was able to assist conductors who are internationally renowned; all of this was priceless, to say the least. In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank each and every one of them for having done what not everyone is willing to do, namely give opportunities to young artists at the beginning of their professional career.

Read the entire interview & many other interesting articles here, in the 1st/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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