It is hardly surprising that Andrea Quinn conducts dance more than any other genre.
The director of The Royal Ballet is as energetic a conductor as you’ll find on the circuit. Her bouncy style, sharp and nervy, might irritate those orchestral musicians content with the softer-spoken, laid-back style of maestro. But Quinn - known for her feisty temperament - invariably delivers the goods. That is why, later this year, she takes up the prestigious appointment as music director of the New York City Ballet.
As it happens, both she and the New York company will make their Festival appearances in the month Quinn takes up her new post. In three demanding programmes - John Adams’s Slonimsky’s Earbox, Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes and Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto - she and her NYCB colleague, Maurice Kaplow, will share the honours of conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in what is collectively The Diamond Project. This isn’t Quinn’s first appearance at the Festival. She directed the NYCB during its memorable visit last year. Indeed, since winning the Royal Opera House’s Conduct for Dance competition in 1993, Quinn’s experience as a ballet conductor has been at the highest level.
That award led to engagements including New York’s Balanchine Festival. The Royal Ballet appointment followed in 1998, for which she was nominated Female Artist of the Year at the 2000 Classical Brit Awards. So, a message to the seasoned men-folk of the RSNO? Just don’t step on her shoes.
Andrea Quinn and Maurice Kaplow conduct 28 August until 1 September.