Three finalists in the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition will each conduct the London Symphony Orchestra at a public concert in London’s Barbican Hall on Thursday 17 November 2016. The winner will be announced by Donatella Flick, the competitions founder, following deliberation by a panel of illustrious judges comprising leading conductors and musicians. The winner receives a £15,000 prize from Donatella Flick, and becomes the LSO’s Assistant Conductor for up to two years, giving them the opportunity to learn from the Orchestra’s musicians and conductors, and possibly to conduct the LSO in concert. The jury comprises conductors Sir Antonio Pappano, Carlo Rizzi (who served on the jury for the very first competition), Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Yuri Temirkanov, the soprano Dame Felicity Lott, and LSO Principal Bassoon Rachel Gough, with LSO Sub-Leader, Lennox Mackenzie, serving as its Chairman.
Donatella Flick, the founder of the Competition said: “I am delighted that the competition which I established 25 years ago continues to flourish, with a very high number of applicants this year, showing me what great musical talent is out there. Of course, only three young conductors will make it to the final round and they will face a jury featuring some of the greatest names in conducting today. My warm thanks goes out to each of the jury members who give their time and invaluable expertise to the competition. I wish every success to all of the young conductors who entered this year, and I look forward to watching the three finalists and what each brings to conducting the LSO.”
The final is the last of three rounds in the 2016 Competition. From nearly 200 applications received, 20 conductors will enter Round 1, with 10 of those selected for Round 2. The Guildhall School Symphony Orchestra will be the orchestra for Rounds 1 and 2, taking place at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. The three finalists will be chosen at the end of Round 2.
The three finalists conduct the LSO in the Overture to Verdi’s The Force of Destiny, Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. For round one, the repertoire is Schubert’s Symphony No.5, Haydn’s Symphony No.99 and Stravinsky’s Concerto in Eb - "Dumbarton Oaks”, while round two features Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.2 and Schumann’s Cello Concerto. In addition, round two contestants will conduct the Guildhall Symphony in two contemporary pieces: Elizabeth Ogonek’s As though Birds and Duncan Ward’s P-Paranoia. Both young composers have been part of the LSO’s schemes for emerging composers.
Elim Chan winner of the 2014 Competition said: “Conducting the LSO at the final can be compared to having a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive a Ferrari. This orchestra has equipped me with tremendous knowledge and confidence to work as a young professional conductor today. I am eternally grateful for the time with the LSO, and for Mrs. Flick's unfailing support throughout the year.”
As LSO Assistant Conductor Elim Chan will conduct the LSO at the Barbican in a family concert and in the Orchestra’s annual showcase of its music education and community programme, LSO Discovery, in June 2017. She made her debut with the Mariinsky Orchestra in spring 2016 both in St Petersburg and on tour in Mexico, her debut at the Lucerne Festival with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in August 2016 in a programme of Bartók, Adams and Saariaho and, in spring 2017 she makes her North American debut with Detroit Symphony and returns to visit the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
The final of the 14th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition is at 7pm on Thursday 17 November in the Barbican Hall. Tickets are available at lso.co.uk, by telephone (020 7638 8891) or in person at the Barbican box office and the final will be broadcast on Classic FM on 24 November.