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.

When did you first discover your love of orchestras?

I played in a youth orchestra when I was a child and that was the first time that I realised that you could have so many people playing music together at once! I will always remember that feeling of making music together with so many people.

How did it feel the first time you conducted?

It was a bit frightening. I was really really nervous. I just hoped I made no mistakes. But I realised that I wanted to do it again, and better!

How do you practice conducting at home?

I sing a lot. I try to hear the music inside me. The singing gives me a feeling in my body which translates through my fingers and out to the musicians.

You are a composer as well. How do you fit it all in?

It’s not easy to do while I concentrate on conducting but I try, I love it very much. It’s a busy life but I love music.

Are you worried what the orchestra is thinking of your compositions when you conduct them?

I am more nervous than at any other time on stage when I’m conducting my own compositions, but it really is magnificent! It’s hard if someone doesn’t like your work but it’s a problem you just have to deal with.

Are you from a musical family?

My mother is a music teacher; my father is a priest. So there is tradition of performing in my family but my parents have always been very supportive of my music. They’re very proud of what I do.