The young Dutch conductor Gijs Leenaars had big shoes to fill when he took over from Simon Halsey as choir master of the Berliner Rundfunkchor at the beginning of the 2015/2016 season. Since then, he has convinced audiences and musicians with meticulous work and unerringly self-confident friendliness. With him, the rehearsals for Christian Thielemann’s conducting of Fauré’s Requiem in January 2016 were in the best of hands. In this interview with Matthew Hunter, violist with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the amiable musician talks about his career which has included leadership positions from early in his work. Other topics are the discreetly graceful requiem by the French composer, and central aspects of the work with his choir.