Manchester Hallé has announced the names of the ten semi-finalists in the inaugural Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition, to be held at Hallé St Peter’s in Manchester from Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 February 2020.

Ten outstanding conductors at the start of their careers (seven male and three female) from around the globe have been selected from a pool of 287 applicants representing 55 countries across six continents.

Nine nationalities will be represented in the semi-finals: Joel Sandelson (British), Delyana Lazarova (Bulgarian), Andres Kaljuste (Estonian), Antoine Petit-Dutaillis and Chloé Dufresne (French), Elinor Rufeizen (Israeli), Diogo Costa (Portuguese), Francisco Valero-Terribas (Spanish), Jonas Ehrler (Swiss) and Rodolfo Barráez (Venezuelan).

After two days of competition including a day rehearsing with the Hallé Youth Orchestra, four finalists will be selected to rehearse and perform with the Hallé on Saturday 22 February.

The winner will be announced that evening and will be offered a two-year engagement as the 8th Assistant Conductor for the Hallé, which includes the role of Music Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra during which time they will develop their skills under the mentorship of the Halle’s Music Director Sir Mark Elder CH CBE. The position of Hallé Assistant Conductor is a prestigious role for talented young conductors.

The first Assistant Conductor was Edward Gardner OBE who held the post between 2001 and 2004, the most recent incumbent being Jonathon Heyward (2016 to 2019). In addition to leading the Hallé during their tenure, the winning conductor will receive a cash prize of £15,000 and the opportunity to establish themselves on the world stage through guest conducting appearances.

Serving as the judging panel are Sir Mark Elder CH CBE, Music Director of the Hallé; Professor Dr. Stephan Frucht, Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program; Arna Kristín Einarsdóttir, Managing Director of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra; John Summers, Chief Executive of the Hallé; Carola Reul, Managing Director of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie; Geoffrey Owen, Head of Artistic Planning for the Hallé; and Julia Albrecht, Director of the Artist Management Department of Konzertdirektion Schmid.

Among the unique elements of the Competition is the inclusion of a ‘Digital Challenge’, during which the ten semi-finalists will be invited to engage in a task that integrates motion technology into the conducting process. The exercise will test how each candidate adapts to unusual situations, and the technology developed will ultimately have lasting benefits for the Hallé’s education and outreach initiatives.

The Siemens Hallé International Conductors Competition builds upon a remarkable partnership between the Hallé and Siemens that has been developed over the last two years. Creating links between engineering and music, this collaboration has not only brought classical music to Manchester audiences, but has also delivered a variety of education and community outreach projects that engage children and support communities throughout the North of England.

John Summers, Chief Executive of the Hallé, commented: “Since it started in 2002, the Hallé’s Assistant Conductorship has identified and helped develop a number of rising stars of the conducting world, many of whom have gone on to great commercial and critical success. We are delighted to be working with Siemens to extend this opportunity to global audiences, bringing the very best and brightest musical talent to Manchester.”

Professor Dr. Stephan Frucht, Artistic Director of the Siemens Arts Program, added: “Directing an orchestra and modern business leadership have a lot in common. Siemens has always recognized the value of the arts, which is why we are in a constant exchange with musicians and artists, much like with scientists and engineers.”


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