Malko Competition reveal candidates for 2021 competition

There will be fierce competition on the podium in Copenhagen’s DR Koncerthuset when 24 young conductors from 14 countries battle for the prizes in the 2021 Malko Competition

Katharina Wincor from Austria is one of the candidates this year. Photo: Mahler Competition 2020.

It aroused international attention in the autumn when the Danish National Symphony Orchestra was able to reveal the number of applicants for the orchestra’s Malko Conducting Competition. No less than 612 young conductors – a striking increase even over last competition’s record number – had applied for the prestigious competition which takes place every third year at DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen.

Now the orchestra is presenting the 24 candidates from all over the world who will be given the opportunity to do battle with one another on the podium at DR Koncerthuset in June. One of them will travel home with the First Prize, consisting of among other things a cheque for 20,000 Euros and conducting contracts with several leading European symphony orchestras.

Young world elite

Fabio Luisi, Chief Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and chairman of the jury in the Malko Competition, is pleased with the high standard of this year’s participants: “Not only have we had an exceptionally wide field of applicants for this year’s competition in spite of the pandemic. We are also pleased to see the very high standard of the candidates. This is truly the young world elite in a discipline that demands excellent musical and personal skills from the young people.”

Excitement on the podium

All 24 participants in this year’s Malko Competition already have a promising conducting career, and several of them have competed against each other in international conducting competitions. This pleases Kim Bohr, CEO of DR Koncerthuset and Artistic Director of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra:

“It adds extra excitement both for the orchestra and for the public that the participants have so much at stake – but more importantly, the high standard of the candidates means that we can expect wonderful music-making throughout the competition week. The musicians of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra are definitely ready to follow every single movement of the young conductors in all rounds of the competition.”

Wide geographical distribution

The 24 participants who have been selected for the Malko Competition 2021 come from 14 different countries spread over four continents. Besides the wide geographical distribution, almost one third of the applicants will be women, which is the highest number in the history of the competition. “I am very excited to present such a talented and diverse field of young conductors for this year’s competition,” says Kim Bohr.

He adds that the 24 candidates are guaranteed a place in the competition should the Malko Competition have to be postponed because of the changing regulations and travel guidance rules that may be imposed in connection with the corona pandemic. “To be selected for the Malko Competition is the eye of a needle, and the selection process requires considerable resources of both us and the candidates. That is why we naturally retain the 24 strong candidates already selected – even though the worst-case scenario is that they will have to be patient a little longer before being allowed to demonstrate before the audience in Koncertsalen, the jury and the international streaming public what they are capable of in front of an orchestra.”

Here are the candidates

You can read about all the Malko candidates at, where you can also stream the entire competition during the 7-12 June period.

The Malko Competition is supported by the A.P. Moller Foundation.

Here is a list of the 24 participants:

  • Bar Avni, Israel, 32

  • Katharina Wincor, Austria, 26

  • Daniel Gyuseo Lee, South Korea, 27

  • Holly Hyun Choe, USA, 30

  • Paul Marsovszky, Germany, 31

  • Dmitry Matvienko, Belarus, 30

  • Sergey Akimov, Russia, 31

  • Teresa Riveiro Böhm, Austria, 31

  • Martin Rajna, Hungary, 25

  • Valentin Egel, Germany, 26

  • Joel Sandelson, England, 27

  • Aleksei Rubin, Russia, 33

  • Timur Zangiev, Russia, 27

  • Linhan Cui, China, 27

  • Junping Qian, China, 31

  • Maurice Cohn, USA, 26

  • Chloe Rooke, England, 24

  • Chloé Dufresne, France, 29

  • Andrei Feher, Romania, 30

  • Nathan Aspinall, Australia, 31

  • Alexander Prior, England, 28

  • Anton Holmer, Sweden, 30

  • David Jang, USA, 32

  • Norman Huynh, USA, 32