Matthew Smith may be a pint-sized 11yr old but don’t judge him by his stature, the kid is a legend in the making. He became Britain’s youngest ever orchestra conductor leading a 75-strong orchestra through a faultless rendition of the overture to Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus.
What’s more, he conducted the nine-minute piece entirely from memory and wasn’t fazed by the 1,300 crowd at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. Proud mum, Beverlyn Riley, 40 was all smiles as she watched her son.
His genius was unlocked four years ago when he saw two violinists performing at the Pentecostal church he attends with his mother and told her that he wanted to be ‘just like them’. Mrs Riley who works as a catering assistant at Nottingham High School, approached the school’s senior string teacher Derek Williams who set Matthew up with an old violin.
Instinctively, Matthew placed his fingers in the correct place on the instrument and a star was born. Mr Williams said that Matthew had ‘music coming out of his pores’. He said the boy had ‘an inherent natural ability the like of which I have not seen for 30 years’.
Mrs Riley, who is divorced from Matthew’s father Cordova Smith and has since remarried, said that she had no idea where Matthew gets his musical ability from, although his father does play the saxophone.
She added: ‘I’m so proud of what Matthew has done.’