THE world of music has learnt a lot about Marta Gardolinska in her 12 months as Young Conductor in Association at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

But it has worked both ways.

The Polish conductor has learnt a lot about the BSO - and herself, in that time.

The awarding-winning but unassuming 30-year-old has just embarked on her second and final year with the orchestra having established herself as a real favourite with the musicians and the audiences.

Her reputation is rapidly growing. So much so that she was sought out to take up the prestigious Gustavo Dudamel Fellowship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic later this year.

She will be standing in for guest conductors and in her second spell there will be working with the world famous Venezuelan himself.

Those behind the fellowship saw a video of Gardolinska conducting Tchaikovsky 4 with the BSO and they offered her the position.

It is a very good indication of where she appears to be heading, to the top of her profession.

She told the Echo: "I have definitely been reflecting a great deal since I came here and I can definitely say I have changed a lot as a conductor and I can say that I properly am a conductor.

"Being able to spend so much time with such an amazing orchestra at this level is wonderful. There is the knowledge of course but also I have been able to relax a little bit and not see every concert and every rehearsal as creating a life or death situation.

"That is very good with the very busy concert programme ahead and it's a comfort for me."

There is indeed a lot to anticipate in the new season.

She plays a major role in the 250th anniversary celebrations of Beethoven's birth (including conducting his Violin Concerto) and will look after the hugely popular traditional New Year concerts, a particular pleasure after her years of study in Vienna. And among the big performances in the second half of the season is Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherazade.

One of the great highlights of the year gone was conducting at the Proms in the Park.

"It was the biggest audience for me and the first time outdoors and the first time with fireworks. At some points I could not even hear if the orchestra was playing it was so loud."

It gave her some good practice for the honour of conducting the final concert of the Edinburgh International Festival with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and four tons of pyrotechnics.

Music is not her only talent. She spent several years training as a professional athlete before committing to music, including gymnastics, swimming and middle distance running.

Her athleticism at the podium shows the coming together of music and sport in her work which she believes is critical for both mental and physical health.

And her sporting prowess as a youngster, often competing and beating men, has given her the belief and confidence that she can succeed in conducting, very much a male dominated profession.

"There are advantages and disadvantages to being a woman conductor but if I succeed it will be on my own merits and my own hard work and that shouldn't be any issue for anyone," she says.