612 young conductors wish to take part in the 2021 Malko Competition

Once again the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has received a record number of applications from young conductors wishing to compete for the prizes in the Malko Competition for Young Conductors next June.

Anna Rakitina from the Malko Competition 2018. (Foto: Agnete Schlichtkrull © dr)

There will be unusually stiff competition for a place at the conductor’s rostrum at the Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s international Malko Competition for Young Conductors 2021.

No less than 612 young conductors from the whole world have applied to participate in the competition – and that is even more than last time, when the number of applicants was higher than ever before.

While the majority of the applicants come from the main territories of classical music in Europe, USA, Russia and Asia, there are also many applications from such areas as South and Central America as well - making a total of no less than 65 nationalities. What they all share is that they are under 35 years of age, studying to become or have already become professional conductors and have all sent in video recordings that in the months ahead will be studiously scrutinised by an internationally composed pre-jury.

A challenging time

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra is particularly glad for the large number of applicants, in the light of the present corona restrictions.

‘We know that it has been a great challenge for many of the young conductors to come up with a recent video recording for the application, for it has been difficult for many months now to put together an orchestra because of corona restrictions, prohibited gatherings and cancelled concerts in the various countries,’ project leader Marie Rørbech says.

‘So it is particularly pleasing to see so many applications from the whole world, for it shows that there is plenty of ambition and creativity in the young generation of conductors despite the present obstacles. Already now, we can see that there are many extremely strong prospective candidates in the field, with some of them already well into their professional careers.’

Attractive prizes

Part of the reason for the great interest in the Malko Competition is probably the attractive prizes that are at stake in the competition. Apart from the coveted 1st prize of €20,000, the conductor who ends up on the winner’s rostrum in June can look forward to a flying start to an international career as a conductor.

For the 1st prize includes a contract to conduct a number of leading orchestras during the coming concert seasons, including such distinguished orchestras as the Oslo Philharmonic and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Another attraction of the Malko Competition is the opportunity to meet the internationally recognised chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Fabio Luisi, who both heads the competition jury and will also be a personal mentor for the Malko winner during a two-year period after the competition.

The Malko Competition is covered by Danish national public radio (DR P2) and TV (DR2) and will be livestreamed worldwide at the website www.malkocompetition.dk.