From 6 to 13 May 2016 the Bamberg Symphony – Bavarian State Philharmonic will be holding The Mahler Competition for the 5th time. Out of 381 applicants, 14 candidates have been invited to Bamberg, 11 male and 3 female.

The candidates are: Rodolfo Barráez (Venezuela), Gabriel Bebeselea (Romania), Paolo Bortolameolli (Chile), Tong Chen (China), Anna Duczmal-Mróz (Poland), Keitaro Harada (Japan), Georg Köhler (Germany), Sergey Neller (Russia), Gemma New (New Zealand), Eunseok Seo (South Korea), Valentin Uryupin (Russia), Vlad Vizireanu (Romania), Kahchun Wong (Singapore) und David Yi (USA).

There were applicants from 64 countries (87% male, 13% female). Conductors applied for the first time from Guatemala and Central Africa. In recognition of this, the Selection Panel has decided to invite one of the above applicants, 21 year-old Brian Kepher from Kenya, to the Competition as a guest.

“We’re delighted,” says Chief Executive Marcus Rudolf Axt, “to have received high-quality applications once again for our Mahler Competition. We found the selection no easy matter, as the level of the young conductors was significantly higher than in previous Competitions, which is why we were able to invite no fewer than 14 candidates to Bamberg. We look forward to welcoming participants from all five continents to this Competition, and we’re excited at the prospect of maybe finding a second Gustavo Dudamel.”

The Mahler Competition started in 2004 with Gustavo Dudamel’s decisive win, and ever since it has been ‘the place to go’ for young conductors from all over the world. Nowhere else demands so much from competitors, or creates conditions for such concentrated music-making. And once again, a jury of leading conductors, composers, performers and managers guarantees an exceptional level of professionalism.

The Competition takes place in several rounds. The winner of the First or highest Prize will be presented to the public at a concert of the Bamberg Symphony in Bamberg’s Concert Hall on 13 May 2016.

The Competition’s obligatory repertoire includes works by Gustav Mahler, Joseph Haydn, Henri Dutilleux, Anton Webern, Jörg Widmann as well as a new work by Georg Friedrich Haas, commissioned by the Bamberg Symphony.

With its programme of high artistic quality The Mahler Competition has set new standards. As a platform for highly talented artists, it offers all participants, regardless of the outcome, crucial career boosts and opportunities. The winner in 2013, Lahav Shani was launched on a career that has led him so far to orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the City of Birmingham Orchestra, the Wiener Symphoniker and the Gürzenich Orchestra. Ainārs Rubiķis, winner of the 2010 Competition, was Music Director of Novosibirsk Opera from 2012 to 2014, has worked with orchestras in St. Petersburg, Toronto, Budapest and Brussels, among others, and has conducted opera productions in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, Chicago’s Lyric Opera and Barcelona’s Liceu.

The Mahler Competition 2016 is supported by generous donations from the ‘Friends of the Bamberg Symphony’, the company Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. KG in Hallstadt and the ‘Oberfrankenstiftung’.


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