Competitions, music, nerves and how to succeed, from classical industry guru, Matthew Trusler

Orchid Music Charitable Trust's Young British Soloists’ Competition gets under way on 26 June in London’s iconic Wigmore Hall. We chat to the Artistic Director of Orchid Classics - and fine violinist himself - Matthew Trusler about music, competitions, and advice for those young players wanting to succeed.

Matthew Trusler violinist

What would be your one piece of advice for anyone trying to make it in music?
Don’t think it’s enough just to play your instrument well - it isn’t! Even the best players have no guarantee whatsoever of a career, so you need to learn how to make things happen.

There are a lot of competitions out there – what makes the Young British Soloists' Competition different?
We simply wanted to help some amazingly talented young artists to be heard in the right way, rather than being manipulated by market forces. It’s unusual but it’s incredibly important.

How important are competitions like this for a young player?
Very - there are too many competitions out there for every winner to be a success, but I hope our winners will have the chance to achieve something that helps them to develop their voice artistically, as well as impacting their career.

What’s your earliest musical memory?
Hearing my mum on the phone organising my first violin lesson, while I put on my new brown shoes. I was about three I guess.
I still have those shoes and they are absolutely tiny.

What are your techniques to cope with performance nerves?
I asked my trio partner recently, after a bad concert, how one cannot play bad concerts. He said simply “practice and sleep”. I realised I’d done neither and it was actually pretty good advice. Really, I don’t think nerves ever go away, you just learn to function better under them.

Which composer, contemporary or from the past, would you most like to have a drink with and why?
I wouldn’t mind having a few whiskeys with Paganini. I think he’d have had some good stories, as well as sound advice on hair products.

What do you wish someone had told you while you were training?
It’s really difficult to find restaurants that are still open after concerts. You’re going to end up eating crisps and chocolate, and after a few years that’s not a good look.

At the Young British Soloists’ Competition, finalists will perform to a panel which includes Classic FM presenter Catherine Bott. If you’d like to experience it at Wigmore Hall, and support these young players, tickets are available from £5 here.