His conducting talent was spotted at a young age…
A natural on the podium, Lionel made his conducting debut at 14. In 2005 at the age of 19 he was unanimously awarded top prize, the Prix du Public, as well as the top vote of the musicians of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, at the 49th International Besançon Conducting Competition.
… but he started out as a cellist
‘I was born in the south of France,’ Lionel said in an interview in 2014. ‘I loved going to concerts, to the opera house with my family. My first cello teacher was a member of the orchestra in Nice. I was five years old. Sometimes he would take me to rehearsal. When I was 13 I entered the Paris Conservatoire as a cellist. There was an optional class — An Initiation to Conducting. I loved it. As a cellist, I never wanted to be a soloist, I always wanted play with the others.’
His talents got him into the history books in LA
In 2007 he was selected from thousands of applicants to serve under Esa-Pekka Salonen as Assistant Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. At the age of 20 he became the youngest person to take up the role in the orchestra’s history, and the youngest person to conduct at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Read more via the London Symphony Orchestra Blog