Though it was his experience of being in his secondary school band at the age of 13 that first ignited Darrell Ang’s interest in conducting, it was a dream that he had on the night of his 14th birthday that really sealed the deal. “In that dream, there was a voice in my head telling me to become a conductor. That’s when I decided.” he shares. The rest, they say, is history.

While Ang is today one of Singapore’s most recognised names in the field of classical music with several awards and prestigious appointments to his name, his path to success was not always smooth sailing. In fact, the former music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne (he left the post last season) notes that he had thoughts of quitting back in 2007. That same year, however, saw Ang winning the Besançon International Young Conductor’s Competition in France. “That competition made the decision for me. I had to continue,” he says. “The memory of this is still very fresh — it’s the feeling of stars colliding and knowing everything is going to go your way. And I’ve actually only felt that once.”

Now freelancing as a guest conductor, Ang outlines plans to work with Russian conductor Valery Gergiev in St Petersburg in the coming seasons. Interestingly, it was seeing Gergiev in concert many years ago that inspired Ang to pursue his conducting studies in St Petersburg. “So I would say that my whole life is now coming full circle,” he concludes.