Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann wins the 14th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition

The winner of the 14th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition is the 26-year-old German conductor Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent presented Niklas Hoffmann with the award tonight, following a public concert in which the London Symphony Orchestra was conducted by three finalists at London’s Barbican Hall.

Each finalist conducted the Overture to Verdi’s The Force of Destiny, five movements each of Elgar’s 'Enigma' Variations and one movement each of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. The other finalists were 31-year-old Vlad Vizireanu from Romania and Kerem Hasan, a 24-year-old conductor from the UK.

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The announcement of the winner was made on the Barbican stage by Lennox Mackenzie, LSO Sub-Leader and the Chairman of the Competition’s jury, which also comprised conductors Sir Antonio Pappano, Carlo Rizzi, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Yuri Temirkanov, the soprano Dame Felicity Lott, and LSO Principal Bassoon Rachel Gough. 

As well as shaping each Competition to ensure the best possible platform for the young conductors who take part, Donatella Flick, the Competition’s Founder, provides a prize of £15,000 for the winner to support a period of specialist study. Niklas Hoffmann also becomes the LSO’s Assistant Conductor for a year, where he will be given the opportunity to work with the LSO and its family of conductors in the preparation of concerts, attend numerous rehearsals, and may also conduct the LSO in concert. He will also take part in events for LSO Discovery, the Orchestra’s award-winning music education and community programme.

Inaugurated by Donatella Flick in 1990 under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales, the biennial Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition aims to advance the careers of young conductors and help the winner to establish an international conducting career. The Competition is open to candidates up to the age of 35 who are citizens of the 28 member countries of the European Union.

During the course of the Competition, 20 conductors were short-listed from nearly 200 applicants by an independent selection panel. During the first two days of the Competition the short-listed candidates conducted the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra before the jury selected ten semi-finalists for Round 2 and three finalists.

Previous winners of the Competition have developed very successful international careers. Full details are on the website

Tonight’s Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition final will be broadcast on Classic FM on Thursday 24 November.

Photos: Tristan Fewings

Notes to editors

For further information on the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition please contact:

Kenny Morrison at Hatcham Communications
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About the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition
The biennial Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition has been shaped and created by Donatella Flick herself from 1990, and aims to help a young conductor establish an international conducting career. The Competition’s principal aim is to bridge the gap between conservatoire training and professional life for emerging conductors. The winner of the 2014 Competition was Elim Chan, its first female winner, who received her award from the Prince of Wales on 8 December 2014 on the Barbican stage.

About Donatella Flick
Donatella Flick is a philanthropist who is world renowned for her support of the arts. In 1990 she founded the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition after realising that there were very few opportunities for young conductors to gain conducting experience from great orchestras and with established conductors. She works hard to ensure that the Competition is one of the foremost conducting competitions in the world, providing not just the winner but also everyone who takes part with the assistance and opportunities needed to launch a successful career.

About Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann
Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann, born in 1990 in Iserlohn (Germany), started his musical education with piano and clarinet lessons. Playing in the Markish Youth Orchestra, he was fascinated by the sound and energy of a full orchestra. While holding an internship at Theater Hagen, he started taking conducting lessons with Prof. Florian Ludwig, general music director of theatre and opera, which led to his first engagement as répétiteur for two opera projects at Theater Hagen.

In 2011, he started studying orchestral conducting with Prof. Nicolas Pasquet, Prof. Gunter Kahlert, Markus Frank and Martin Hoff at the Franz Liszt University of Music, Weimar. He also received important inspiration in masterclasses with Prof. Jorma Panula and Prof. Clark Rundell. He now works with Czech orchestras in Teplice and Hradec Kralové, the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Weimar and the Leipzig Middle German Radio Symphony Orchestra. Aside from conducting, he is also a composer, aiming at a spirited interaction between musicians and audience.

Since October 2015 he has been chief conductor of the academic orchestra in Göttingen and in April 2016 he was awarded a Dirigentenforum (Conductors‘ Forum) scholarship, the German Music Council's extensive support programme for young conductors.

About Kerem Hasan
Born in London, Kerem studied piano and conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” Weimar, and is currently a student at the Zürich University of the Arts with Johannes Schlaefli.

Winner of the Robert J. Harth conducting prize at the Aspen Music Festival, Kerem has been re-invited next summer to continue studying with Robert Spano as a Conducting Fellow. Recent engagements include concerts with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Meininger Hofkapelle and an invitation to assist Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Kerem has conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Bern Symphony Orchestra. Recent masterclasses include with Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Easter Festival, David Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Kerem joined the Dirigentenforum of the Deutscher Musikrat in 2016. He is the grateful recipient of scholarships from the ABRSM, Help Musicians UK and the Solti Foundation.

About Vlad Vizireanu
Described as a conductor with “ample gestures, clarity, precision, and genuine passion,” Vlad Vizireanu has made his mark as one of this generation’s finest young conductors and as an energetic and vibrant presence with a unique artistic vision.

Most recently, Vizireanu was accepted in the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition with the London Symphony and was invited among 14 conductors (out of 400 applicants worldwide) to participate in the renowned Mahler Conducting Competition with the Bamberg Symphony. He won Second Prize in the 11th International Cadaqués Conducting Competition where he conducted the Cadaqués Symphony in an internationally televised concert in L’Auditori Hall, Barcelona.

He studied with David Zinman at the 2016 Tonhalle Orchestra Masterclass, with the late Kurt Masur at the 2015 Manhattan School of Music Conducting Seminar, and was selected for two consecutive years as one of seven conductors from around the world to study with Bernard Haitink at the 2013 and 2014 Lucerne Easter Festivals. Vizireanu was one of the last students of the late Lorin Maazel under full fellowship at the 2014 Castleton Festival. He also received the prestigious 2013 Chautauqua Conducting Fellowship in New York.