The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition, held every two years, was founded in 1990 by philanthropist Donatella Flick. Ahead of the three rounds which will crown the 2016 winner, between the 15th and 17th November, Bachtrack's insider Nicole Wilson meets the competitors who will have to prove their talent conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

Are you from a musical family?

Not at all! That’s something funny. Not a musical family, but from a place where music is part of society. My family were not musicians, but I watch musicians in the streets, and also friends, colleagues, and as soon as I got into music it took up all my free time out of school.

What instrument do you play?

I’m a percussionist in a symphonic orchestra in Antwerp, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, it’s my sixth season in the orchestra. I come from Valencia in Spain, where every village has many musical organisations so the contact with music is very easy. I remember as a child I wrote a lot of music – popular stuff, nothing very serious –so here I got a little chance without any experience to conduct my own music every now and again.

Later on I had a lot of luck to have a lot of very good percussion teachers, all of them also involved in conducting, and the way they were explaining things to me was always from a conductor’s point of view. Even during my course for orchestral percussion, all the excerpts I practiced from the conductor’s score.

When you’re watching the conductor when you’re playing, how do you feel?

Sometimes I feel ‘I would do this in a different way.’ But it depends, it’s a very good lesson to work in an orchestra because you get different conductors in front of you every day.

My orchestra is local one, so we get a bit of everything. We don’t always get the biggest and the most famous conductors, but it’s a very good experience to see many different ways of making music.

As you’re waiting to go on stage  what goes through your mind?

Actually my experience as a conductor is still very little compared to as a musician but when I go to conduct, you know what’s happened during the rehearsal so you have an image of how the reaction of the musicians is going to be with the public.

So if you get through to the final of the DFCC and you’re stood in front of the LSO at the Barbican Centre how will that feel?

That’s going to be crazy. Yes of course I will be worried about myself. I know how good great orchestras are. I was watching one of the interviews from Daniel Harding, and he was saying you have to show that it will better with you than it would be without, and that’s a great challenge with a huge orchestra like the LSO. I would imagine anyway, I have not had the pleasure yet!