Record number of entrants for DR's Malko Competition 2018

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi have received no fewer than 566 applications from young conductors who want to compete for the prizes in the Malko Competition 2018. This is almost double last year’s number.

  • 566 conductors from 78 countries have applied to participate in the Malko Competition in 2018. This picture shows one of the contestants from the 2015 competition.
  • The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi are looking forward to the 2018 Malko Competition, to be held in DR Koncerthuset. The competition can be followed live in Koncertsalen or online via DR's media coverage.
  • The 2015 Malko Competition winner, Tung-Chieh Chuang was from Taiwan. (Foto: : Agnete Schlichtkrull)
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There will be unusually fierce competition for the places on the conductor’s podium in DR Koncerthuset in April 2018. A whole 566 young conductors from all over the world have applied to be nominated for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra' s famous Malko Competition – and that is almost twice as many as the orchestra has experienced in previous years.

While most of the applicants come from the major classical music territories Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Russia and Asia, there are also applicants from South America and the Middle East – with a total of 78 nationalities. Features common to the applicants are their ages, between 18 and 35; that they are con­ducting students or are already professional conductors; and that they have all submitted video material which will be carefully reviewed in the coming months by an internationally composed pre-jury.

International exposure

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra is more than satisfied with the great interest in the Malko Competition. “The wide field of appli­cants for the Malko Competition 2018 first and foremost reflects our determined effort to give the orchestra international exposure in recent years. With Fabio Luisi as principal conductor, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has gained a secure position on the musical world map which we maintain among other ways through touring, inter­na­tional collaborations and live-streaming of selected concerts,” says Kim Bohr, Head of DR Choirs and Orchestras.

Attractive Fist Prize

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi plays a crucial role in the Malko Competition 2018. As well as chairing the international professional jury that is to decide the fate of the 24 candidates in DR Koncerthuset in April, he will himself be a personal mentor for the winner of the competition for a period of two years after the competition.

On the whole, there can be little doubt that the hope of winning First Prize in the competition is a prime motivation for the many hundred Malko applicants. The conductor who ends up victorious on the podium in DR Koncerthuset in April wins not only 20,000 Euro but also contracts with a whole 25 lead­ing European orchestras in the coming concert seasons.

New strategy

An important incentive for the young conductors who have applied to be nominated for the Malko Compe­tition 2018 is the opportunity to conduct the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in a competition that is covered nationally by DR’s media platforms, and which can at the same time be followed all over the world via live-streaming.

Head of Orchestras Kim Bohr believes that a new communication strategy for the Malko Competition is part of the explanation of the wide field of applicants: “To reach out to young conducting talents all over the world and find the right range of applicants we have had to go to work very determinedly. In connection with the fact that the orchestra has recently taken over the whole administration of the competition we have chosen to focus on a new combination of digital dialogue via social media, online marketing, inter­national press work and direct personal contact with agencies, conservatories and conducting academies. It really lifts the spirits to see that the work has borne fruit – and now the whole orchestra is looking forward to meeting the 24 candidates selected by the pre-jury.”

Engaged and dedicated orchestra

In addition to offering a whole bouquet of attractive prizes, the Malko Competition is unique in its organization: The competition is hosted by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra itself – and as a result, it is known to support the competitors with extraordinarily dedicated orchestral playing.

René Mathiesen, chairman and timpanist of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, says: ”We are looking immensely forward to welcoming the next team of Malko competitors in 2018. Our competition is known for the special dedication and attentiveness of the orchestra through all rounds of the competition, and we are proud to have an artistically strong Jury consisting mainly of conductors and orchestral musicians.”

Keep tabs on the Malko Competition 2018

If you want to keep up with the Malko Competition 2018, you can join the audience to attend the compe­tition days live at DR Koncerthuset, where you can buy a general admission ticket to the initial rounds and/or the finale concert on 27 April when the winner of the competition is chosen. At the same time you can follow the competition on radio on DR P2 and at The whole competition is being live-streamed internationally at the website


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