FOR THE first time in its history, Glasgow Schools Symphony Orchestra has a teenage conductor.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student Ross Gunning follows in the footsteps of such respected names as composer John Maxwell Geddes and RSNO violinist Gerry Docherty to take the baton at today's autumn concert.

Ross, 19, who is from Clarkston, said: "I'm really excited about conducting the orchestra, they are a fantastic group of talented young people."

More than 2000 schoolchildren from all over Glasgow attend the popular annual concerts over two days in the City Halls.

Ross added: "We want to show kids that orchestras can be fun, and to inspire them to think - 'I could do that too'."

Ross founded his own orchestra, Glasgow Philharmonia, two years ago and it is now an established part of the city's music scene, performing at high profile events such as the Commonwealth Games medal unveiling ceremony.

Pam Black, Glasgow City Council's educational support officer for instrumental instruction, said: "We wanted to give a young conductor the chance to be involved and Ross is perfect for the job.

"The response to him from the young musicians has been amazing - you can really hear the difference in the playing.

"Ross has a real passion for music and conducting and that shines through.

"The young musicians have really picked up on his energy and vitality and I think the young audiences will too."

Orchestra leader Julia Murray, 17, who is a pupil at Hyndland Secondary, said: "Because Ross is just a couple of years older than us he can really relate to us and understand how we feel if any problems come up.

"He has also introduced movie music in addition to the classical pieces, so the audience will recognise pieces from the likes of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars."

Viola players Amy Hastie, 18, and Ryan McSorley, 16, who attend Holyrood Secondary, agreed.

Amy said: "Hopefully the young people who come to see the concerts will be inspired to take up music.

"I attended the concerts when I was in primary school and it made me want to learn an instrument."

Clarinettist Zoe Arschavir, 18, said: "More schools should give their pupils the opportunity to get involved in music and playing.

"I have loved having the chance to do this and while it's hard work, giving up my weekends for six years, it's worth it if it inspires others to do it too."

Earlier this year husabnd and wife team Dan and Laura Curtis, whose recent projects include a BBC Children in Need album, featuring Broadway's biggest stars, and a charity single with Aled Jones, became patrons of Glasgow Philharmonia - and a London concert could be on the cards.

The orchestra, set up by Ross as a one-off fundraiser in 2012, consists entirely of 16 to 25-year-old musicians