One of the regular laments of the Australian classical music chattering classes is the dearth of native conductors at the helms of our state symphony orchestras. The announcement yesterday by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, then, that Melbourne-born Nicholas Carter would be its next Principal Conductor will doubtless have come as a breath of fresh air to many.

My first encounter with Carter was watching him conduct the sadly short-lived Orchestra Romantique in Sydney back in 2010. My memory is of a real ‘event’ with a thoroughly idiomatic Beethoven Eroicafrom a young man of 24 who had just taken up post as Assistant to Vladimir Ashkenazy at the SSO. Now, a still fresh-faced 29, Carter will be one of the youngest leaders of an Australian state orchestra ever, and it will be the first time an Australian has been appointed to such a post since Stuart Challender became Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony in 1987.

Nicholas Carter

Meeting up with him for a coffee during a flying visit to Sydney this week I ask him how aware...