Chloé van Soeterstède

Chloé graduated from the RNCM in 2017 and is enjoying a fantastic start to her career as a conductor, represented by Intermusica. Born in Paris, France, she moved to the UK to study.

She shared with us how migration has affected her life and work…

Chloé van Soeterstède

What does the word ‘migrant’ mean to you?

Unfortunately, the media’s put a negative connotation on this word. But migrating can be a choice. Because of the influence of the media, people automatically associate ‘migrant’ with the act of leaving a country mostly for political reasons, either because of dictatorship or war, or because of natural elements (hurricane, storms that destroy entire places).

Those people are forced to migrate towards a better living situation. But people like me, who are born outside the country they live in are also migrants. The difference is that we are migrants by choice. I feel very lucky to be able to choose where I want to study, to live, to build my life.

Where were you born, and what caused you to move away from your birth country?

I was born in Paris, France. At the age of 20, I moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. I knew the UK (among others like Germany) was a country that would be better than my own in term of orchestral training and later on for conducting. The mentality is more positive than in France. This attracted me a lot.

How have your personal experiences of migration impacted on you as a musician and artist?

The mentality in the UK is very positive and open minded. We build lessons on positive elements rather than criticising and staying in a negative spirit. When I arrived in London, I could not believe my ears. People were really nice and encouraging. I had to adapt my mind and musically, I felt I had different options rather than only one.

Where did the RNCM come into your story?

I arrived at the RNCM in 2015 and I was already in the UK since 2010. I really felt immediately at home at the RNCM. I clearly remember Linda Merrick’s speech at the start of the term about supporting each other, discovering exhibitions and new things in the city, making new friends. It is a real change from London’s spirit of work, which is still positive but very competitive.

Where is home to you?

Tricky question! I would say London…but when I come back to Paris and arrive at my parents’ place, it feels also like home! Perhaps both?!

Also in this section...