One of the UK’s most talented young orchestra conductors who conquered childhood deafness is scaling new musical heights on a global stage.
Robert Guy, 29, Tutor in Conducting at the University of Huddersfield, has been chosen from 300 candidates to take part in the prestigious 2017 Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition in Catalonia in Spain.
The achievement is all the more remarkable because Robert could not hear a note when his grandmother started to teach him to play the piano at the age of three.
When he was a child he was so deaf that he couldn’t hear the birds sing in his garden.
Doctors discovered his ear tubes were closed up and diagnosed him as 70% deaf.
Nevertheless Robert’s music loving grandmother determinedly taught him to play the piano from a young age.
While still an infant he eventually had an operation to clear the tubes and open up amazing new sounds to him.
“It was exhilarating, music became my whole world and continues to be,” said Robert.
Now fully recovered, he has established the acclaimed Wrexham-based NEW Sinfonia Orchestra and is also the Director of the Choral Programme at the University of Manchester.
His other claim to fame was leading the world famous Manchester Camerata orchestra in a recording of a haunting theme tune for Sony Playstation 4.
The conducting competition is recognised as one of classical music’s most prestigious events.
The winner gets the chance to conduct each of the competition’s 35 big name collaborating orchestras over the course of the next three years.
They include internationally renowned orchestras from Spain, Britain, Italy, France, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg and as far afield as Japan and Mexico.
Among them are the BBC Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Osaka Symphony Orchestra and the Resident Orchestra of The Hague, Netherlands.
Robert is one of 60 young conductors from around the world selected to compete in the preliminary round on December 12 and 13.
Participants will be judged on their conducting skills of the Chamber Ensemble of the Cadaqués Orchestra and the full Cadaqués Orchestra in an event which will be broadcast live online by streaming video.
A maximum of 10 conductors will be chosen to go on to the final in Barcelona on December 15 when members of the Cadaqués Orchestra itself will be among the judges.
Robert, who has been a tutor at the University of Huddersfield for three years, added: “The final actually takes place on my birthday so, depending on how I do, I’ll either be on an aeroplane flying home that day or in the spotlight conducting in the competition of my life!”