Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition 2014: an introduction

This weekend sees the biennial Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition, at the end of which we will find the next Assistant Conductor of the LSO.

The Competition
The competition, which has been running every two years since 1990, kicks off on Saturday 6 December at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In Rounds 1 (Saturday) & 2 (Sunday) 20 competitors (selected from 225 applicants) will be whittled down to ten, and then to just three finalists.

During the final round on Monday 8 December the three finalists will spend the day rehearsing the LSO at the Barbican Centre in preparation for the evening concert. The winner will be announced at the end of the concert, and will receive a prize of £15,000 and the title of Assistant Conductor of the LSO for the coming year. The Final concert, which will be performed in the presence of the Patron of the Competition, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, is open to the public and presents an unusual opportunity to compare and contrast the three candidates for yourself, as they each conduct the same work one after another. Will you agree with the jury’s decision? Tickets are available on the LSO website.

The full rules of the Competition, along with the list of 20 competitors and the members of the jury, can be found on the LSO website.

Live blog
Although Rounds 1 & 2 are not open to the public we will be running a live blog throughout the two days, written by freelance writer and musician Toby Deller. Toby will be providing an insight into these closed rounds, and follow some of the competitors as they progress through the competition.

Toby has interviewed our 2012 winner, Alexandre Bloch, for Classical Music magazine. If you are a subscriber you can read the full interview here. Alexandre offers the following advice to this year’s competitors: “be the most prepared possible … and be confident you have the right to be there … you have skills and musicality to share … the most important is to be yourself and just go with the music. The LSO is not a big monster that will eat you, it has very very nice people in it! So there’s no problem.”

We are so proud of Alexandre, who has gone on to work with the world’s greatest orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and was recently named as one of BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Great Artists of Tomorrow’. Indeed former winners and finalists of the Competition, such as François-Xavier Roth, David Afkham, Ben Gernon and Michal Dworzynski all now work frequently with the LSO and orchestras around the world. The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition has an important role to play in finding and helping the great conductors of the future – don’t miss this opportunity to watch us find a star!