Dane Lam, Brisbane-based international conductor, reflects on his time studying conducting with Gianluigi Gelmetti, former Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony, who recently died. Dane studied with Gelmetti in Australia and Italy at Siena’s Accademia Musicale Chigiana from 2003-06 and was his assistant conductor in Sydney.

Dane Lam

“Pensi alla musica”. These words were the first thing that came to mind when I received news of the death of the great Italian conductor, Gianluigi Gelmetti. “Think to the music” was a constant refrain in the Maestro’s teaching, integral to the man and his philosophy of conducting – it all came back to making music.

While I hadn’t had contact with Maestro Gelmetti for several years (and in the ensuing time went from student to working conductor), the sense of loss, personal and musical, came as a surprise to me. I wanted to commit my recollections of this complex, preternaturally gifted musician to print. It won’t be an exhaustive picture of the man; he was a mentor, not a friend, and I...