Welcome to the

Malko competition
for young conductors

Copenhagen, April 20th to 27th 2018

JURY Chairman: Fabio Luisi

The Nicolai Malko Competition is the Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s international competition for young conductors, held every three years since 1965. At the heart of the competition is the goal of identifying and bringing out the great young musical talents who will one day grace the podia of leading orchestras around the world. 

Since the very beginning, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has dedicated all its skills and energies to the Malko Competition. For the musicians, the competition is about providing maximum artistic expression in partnership with the conductor – in the same creative way as they do in all concerts throughout the orchestral season.

As part of the Danish National Broadcasting Corporation since its foundation in 1923, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra is passionate about broadcasting and communicating about classical music on a variety of media platforms. The Malko Competition is a natural part of this mission and will be broadcast on Danish radio (DR P2) and TV (DR K) as well as livestreamed internationally.

For the 2018 Malko Competition, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra is proud to have the orchestra’s principal conductor, Maestro Fabio Luisi, as Jury Chairman as well as personal mentor to the winner of the competition. With his unique musical skills and his profound interest in talent development, Luisi will be a powerful stimulus for all 2018 Malko contestants

The Nicolai Malko competition 2018 is under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Henrik.

The Nicolai Malko Competition 2018 is generously supported by Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond, Augustinus Fonden and Beckett-Fonden.

NEWS

  • October 13

    Record number of entrants for 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. 

    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 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. The applicants’ submitted video material will now 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. 

    Apart from the mentorship of Luisi, 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.”

  • August 14

    Applications now open for Malko Competition for Young Conductors

    The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Jury Chairman Fabio Luisi invite young talented conductors to apply for the 2018 Malko Competition before 12th October

    Applications are now invited for the Malko Competition for Young Conductors, hosted by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra at DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen on 20th-27th April 2018. 

    International jury and prominent observers
    The 2018 Malko Competition will have a strong international jury including Seiji Ozawa, JoAnn Falletta and members of the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. Furthermore, the 2018 competition will be followed live in Copenhagen by observers from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. 

    25 orchestral contracts for winning conductor
    Apart from a 1st prize of Euro 20,000, the Malko winner of 2018 will be offered concert contracts with no fewer than 25 leading European orchestras including the RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout the first year after the competition, the winner will also be offered personal mentorship by the jury chairman, Fabio Luisi.

    Hoping to see great talent
    “I hope to see great talent among the 2018 Malko contestants. I also hope to see a fresh way of presenting and approaching the music as well as a fresh way of working with the orchestra,” says Jury Chairman Fabio Luisi. He also explains: “For a young conductor, competitions are a unique chance to get professional feedback from experienced jury members, young colleagues and not least the musicians of a first-class orchestra.”

    Livestream and media coverage
    As part of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), the Danish National Symphony Orchestra will ensure extensive media coverage of the Malko competition week through worldwide livestreaming of the competition on the competition’s own web platform www.malkocompetition.dk as well as editorial coverage on DR’s broadcasting platforms and a strong social media presence. 

    Applications may be submitted until 12th October
    For more details about the 2018 Malko Competition and the application procedure, please click here (http://malkocompetition.dk/#application)

  • June 9

    Jury, prizes and repertoire for 2018 announced

    Maestro Fabio Luisi will be heading the jury of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s international Malko Competition for young conductors

    The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, part of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, has just announced the complete competition details for the next Malko Competition for young conductors on the new website www.malkocompetition.dk. The competition will take place on 20th-27th April 2018 in DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen, opening the application on August 26th 2017.

    Personal mentorship and orchestral contracts
    The Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s principal conductor Fabio Luisi, also known as principal conductor of The Met and the General Music Director of Zurich opera, will be heading the 2018 competition jury and will also be offering his personal mentorship to the winner of the competition. Among other draws for young conductors in the 2018 competition is a contract of 18 concerts with leading European orchestras including the RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Media coverage and PR package
    As part of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), the Danish National Symphony Orchestra will ensure extensive media coverage of the Malko competition week through international livestreaming of the competition week as well as editorial coverage on DR’s broadcasting platforms and a strong social media presence. Furthermore, the winner of the competition will receive an attractive PR kit consisting of professional video recordings, press photos and other material to support the winner’s future conducting career.

    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 percussionist 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.”

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  • Danish National Symphony Orchestra

    Since 1925 the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has been the cultural flagship of DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. With Maestro Fabio Luisi as its new Chief Conductor and a succession of prominent guest artists each season, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra is today among Europe’s leading symphony orchestras.

    The distinctive sound of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has been moulded over the years by Chief Conductors like Nicolai Malko, Herbert Blomstedt, Thomas Dausgaard and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

    Today the Orchestra offers everything from Classical sounds through Roman­tic tone-poems and modern masterpieces to new creations by the com­posers of tomorrow. At the same time, the Orchestra has a special feeling for Danish music – from classics like Carl Nielsen and Niels W. Gade to the very young Danish composing talents.

    Each year more than 100.000 music-lovers experience the magic of live symphonic music with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra – both in the DR Concert Hall and on the Orchestra’s major annual tour abroad.

    The Orchestra’s popular Thursday Concert series is experienced every week by many Danes on radio and TV, and millions tune in when the concerts are broadcast internationally.

  • Fabio Luisi

    Fabio Luisi, principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, is the chairman of the 2018 edition of the Malko Competition competition and will be mentor to it´s winner.

    Luisi is well known for his deep personal engagement in the music; at the same time his musical experience and range are vast – with principal conductor posts with among others the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Zürich Opera.

    Before taking up the post Fabio Luisi had already forged a close relationship with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. But in his new, permanent role as principal conduc­tor, he can challenge the musicians and develop the Orchestra in earnest from this season on.

Schedule & Repertoire April 20th to 27th 2018

  • 20 Friday
    Opening concert
    Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra

    The opening concert of the Malko competition ...

  • 21 Saturday
    Day off
  • 22 Sunday
    First round
    particiants 1-12

    The candidate chooses two of the three possibilities below.
    The jury chooses one of the candidate’s two choices, which may be an excerpt of the piece(s).
    The candidate thus only plays one of the possibilities below.
    Each candidate will have 15 minutes with the orchestra.
    During the 15 minutes the candidate can rehearse with the orchestra.

    1. W.A. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte - Overture (Breitkopf), and
       W.A. Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail - Overture (Bärenreiter)
    2. L.v. Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 - 1st movement (Bärenreiter)
    3. L.v. Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 - 3rd movement (Bärenreiter)

    Rules

    After the first round each member of the Jury places a “+” beside the names of the 12 candidates whom the Juror deems best qualified. The 12 candidates who obtain most votes will qualify for the second round.

  • 23 Monday
    First round
    participants 13-24, Jury votes, announcement of result

    See details in round 1 first day

  • 24 Tuesday
    Second round
    12 participants, Jury votes, announcement of result

    Each candidate will have 20 minutes with the orchestra.
    The candidates prepare all three symphonies.
    The candidate may rehearse with the orchestra.
    The candidate can decide the order of performance.

    • P.I. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (Breitkopf)
    • G. Mahler: Symphony No. 1 (Universal Edition)
    • R. Schumann: Symphony No. 4 (Breitkopf, 1851 version)

    On the day before the 2nd round, the exact excerpts will be announced to each of the candidates.

    Rules

    After the second round each member of the Jury places a “+” beside the names of the 6 candidates whom the Juror deems best qualified. The 6 candidates who obtain most votes will qualify for the third round.

  • 25 Wednesday
    Third round
    6 participants, Jury votes, announcement of result

    The 3rd round is divided into two parts: Morning and afternoon.

    In the morning each candidate will have 20 minutes with the orchestra.
    The candidate can decide the order of performance.

    Poul Ruders: New commission for the Malko Competition (ap. 5-7 minutes) (Edition Wilhelm Hansen)
    The candidate may rehearse with the orchestra.
    The piece by Poul Ruders will be sent to the candidates on March 20th 2018. 

    Without rehearsal the candidate will perform one of the following three pieces (by his/her own choice):
    R. Wagner: Lohengrin - Prelude to Act I (Breitkopf)
    C.M.v. Weber: Der Freischütz - Ouverture (Breitkopf)
    G. Verdi: La Forza del Destino - Ouverture (Ricordi)

    In the afternoon each candidate will, without rehearsal, perform 
    A. Dvorak: Cello Concerto - 1st movement (KLHU)
    Soloist: Andreas Brantelid
    The candidate will have time to meet and talk with the soloist beforehand.

    Rules

    After the third round each member of the Jury places a “+” beside the names of the 3 candidates whom the Juror deems best qualified. The 3 candidates who obtain most votes will qualify for the finale.

  • 26 Thursday
    Day off
  • 27 Friday
    Finale
    3 participants, Jury votes, Prize ceremony

    Each candidate will rehearse with the orchestra in the morning.
    In the afternoon each candidate will perform one of the following three pieces (as decided by ballot on April 25th 2018):

    • J. Brahms: Symphony No. 1 - 1st movement (Breitkopf)
    • J. Brahms: Symphony No. 2 - 1st movement (Breitkopf)
    • J. Brahms: Symphony No. 4 - 1st movement (Breitkopf)

    In addition the candidate will perform:
    C. Nielsen: Maskarade - Dance of the Cockerels (Hanedans) (Edition Wilhelm Hansen)

    Rules

    After the finale, a separate vote is taken for each of the 1st-3rd Prize – beginning with the 1st Prize.
    Prior to the vote, each member of the Jury is issued with a ballot on which he or she writes the name of the finalist to whom the Juror wishes to award the prize in question.
    If the voting results in a tie between two finalists, a vote is taken to decide whether a Prize is to be divided between the two (in which case the subsequent Prize is not awarded, and the sum for the two Prizes is divided equally between the two winners (ex aequo)). If there is not a majority in favor of dividing the 1st Prize, the vote of the President of the Jury decides in favor of one of the candidates.
    If the voting results in a tie between three finalists, a vote will be taken to select, finally, the two best-qualified. Then follows the above procedure for the case of a tie between two finalists.
    In the event of all voting ballots for this prize being blank the prize will not be awarded.

    After each of the first three rounds the president will announce the candidates continuing to the next round in alphabetical order, without mentioning the number of votes they have got.

    After the finale, the president will announce the winners without mentioning the number of votes obtained.

    The decision of the Jury is final and cannot be appealed.

Prizes

1
First prize
20,000 €
2
Second prize
15,000 €
3
Third prize
12,000 €
Audience prize
1,500 €

Personal consultant

The winner of the 1st prize will receive advice and support for a period of one year from Jennifer Spencer who, for 20 years until June 2016, was a Director at Harrison Parrott, responsible for the strategic career development of a number of major and emerging conductors. During her time at Harrison Parrott Jennifer Spencer has worked with Paavo Järvi, Sakari Oramo, Yakov Kreizberg, Xian Zhang, Kirill Karabits, Krzysztof Urbanski, Elim Chan, Iván Fischer and Christoph von Dohnanyi (amongst others).

Mentorship

Fabio Luisi will be personal mentor for the winner of 1st prize.

Audio visual recording

The winner of the 1st prize will be offered the opportunity to conduct the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in an audiovisual studio-production of 5-10 minutes length. The recording can be used by the winner for non-commercial purposes, e.g. on the winner´s homepage. Note: The repertoire for this recording must be owned by the orchestra´s library in order to allow free publication. Therefore the repertoire will be agreed on in dialogue between the winner and the orchestra administration.

Portrait photos

The winner of the 1st prize will be offered a photo session with the danish photography artist Per Morten Abrahamsen.

Application

The online application is closed for submissions.
The pre-jury will now choose the 24 applicants who will be invited to the Malko Competition 2018.
The result of the preliminary round will be announced on January 28, 2018.

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the application process.

Rules

Rules and voting procedure for the Jury 

The competition takes place in 3 rounds and a finale. In the 1st round, which runs over two days, 24 candidates will participate. 12 candidates will be selected for the 2nd round, which runs over one day. 6 candidates will go on to the 3rd round. 3 candidates will go on to the Finale. 

The Jury votes after having heard all candidates. If a member of the jury has not heard all candidates in a round, the juror cannot vote in the round.

Voting is by secret ballot in the presence of a Moderator representing, and appointed by the Management of the Competition. Ballots may not be made public.

The Jurors will vote independently and may not discuss the performances before or during the voting procedure.
If a member of the jury does not participate in the competition, for example on account of ”Force Majeure”, the Management has the right to appoint a new member of the jury immediately.

The Moderator collects all votes after each round, and checks that the ballot is properly signed by the juror. The Moderator and a neutral assistant count the votes and give the result to the assembled jury.

Prior to voting after the first, second and third round, each member of the Jury will be issued with a ballot with names of all the candidates performing in the round.

First round After the first round each member of the Jury places a “+” beside the names of the 12 candidates whom the Juror deems best qualified. The 12 candidates who obtain most votes will qualify for the second round.
Second round After the second round each member of the Jury places a “+” beside the names of the 6 candidates whom the Juror deems best qualified. The 6 candidates who obtain most votes will qualify for the third round.
Third round After the third round each member of the Jury places a “+” beside the names of the 3 candidates whom the Juror deems best qualified. The 3 candidates who obtain most votes will qualify for the finale.
Inconclusive votes If a vote proves inconclusive, the following procedures will be observed:
a) Should two or more candidates receive the same number of qualifying votes, a separate ballot will be held.
b) Should the votes be inconclusively distributed (minority votes) on both sides of the qualifying line, the contestants enjoying the support of the clear majority will be chosen first and those with not more than one vote will be rejected.
A new ballot will then be undertaken among the remaining candidates to allocate the vacancies.
Finale After the finale, a separate vote is taken for each of the 1st-3rd Prize – beginning with the 1st Prize.
Prior to the vote, each member of the Jury is issued with a ballot on which he or she writes the name of the finalist to whom the Juror wishes to award the prize in question.
If the voting results in a tie between two finalists, a vote is taken to decide whether a Prize is to be divided between the two (in which case the subsequent Prize is not awarded, and the sum for the two Prizes is divided equally between the two winners (ex aequo)). If there is not a majority in favor of dividing the 1st Prize, the vote of the President of the Jury decides in favor of one of the candidates.
If the voting results in a tie between three finalists, a vote will be taken to select, finally, the two best-qualified. Then follows the above procedure for the case of a tie between two finalists.
In the event of all voting ballots for this prize being blank the prize will not be awarded.

After each of the first three rounds the president will announce the candidates continuing to the next round in alphabetical order, without mentioning the number of votes they have got.

After the finale, the president will announce the winners without mentioning the number of votes obtained.

The decision of the Jury is final and cannot be appealed.

Members of the Jury 

Previous winners

  • Tung-Chieh Chuang

    Tung-Chieh Chuang is the celebrated winner of the International Malko Competition 2015 in Copenhagen. As a guest conductor, Tung-Chieh Chuang has recently conducted such orchestras as Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Tampere Philharmonic and Qatar Philharmonic. He worked with the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted the Filharmonica G. Enescu Bucharest, Oviedo Filarmonia, and Sønderjyllands Symphony Orchestra.

    Highlights of the 2016/2017 season include concerts with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice, RTE Dublin and Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. Furthermore, he works with Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Turku Philharmonic, Helsingborg Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan and Macao Orchestra. In October 2016 he will conduct the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra on a tour in China.

  • Rafael Payare

    In May 2012, Payare was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition, and in July 2012, he was personally invited by his mentor, the late Lorin Maazel, to conduct at his Castleton Festival in Virginia. This led to a close association and, in July 2015, he was honoured to accept the position of Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival. In the summer of 2015, he conducted performances of Gounod 'Romeo and Juliette’ and a performance of Beethoven Symphony No 9 in memory of Lorin Maazel. 

    The 2014-15 season saw his acclaimed debut with the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Musikverein, and invitations to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic. This was followed by his debut with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival. In September 2014, he was announced as Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland and their partnership is now recognised as one of the most dynamic in the United Kingdom. Highlights with the UO have included his debut at the BBC Proms in August 2016 and a successful Beethoven and Tchaikovsky cycle with many of the concerts broadcast on BBC Radio 3. 

    Notable invitations during the 2015-16 season included the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, NDR Sinfonieochester Hamburg, Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchesterand the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Southbank Centre, plus return visits to the Rotterdam Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

  • Joshua Weilerstein

    Born into a musical family, Weilerstein’s career was launched after winning both the First Prize and the Audience Prize at the Malko Competition for Young Conductors 2009 in Copenhagen. He then completed a three-year appointment as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, which concluded in the 13/14 season. 
    Since then, he has steadily gained a growing profile in both North America and abroad, including recent guest conducting engagements with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Worth, and Vancouver; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, and the Aspen Music Festival, among others. 
    In Europe, he has established strong relationships with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, Oslo Phiharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He has also conducted the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestre Berlin, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. 
    In the 2015/16 season Weilerstein makes debuts with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, SWR Stuttgart, and Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and will make his Barbican debut when he returns to the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He will also return to the Baltimore, Vancouver, and Danish National Symphony Orchestras; the Royal Liverpool, Oslo, and Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestras; Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, and the Orchestre National de Lyon. With the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Weilerstein goes on tour in Germany, performing in Bremen, Hamburg, Hannover, and Düsseldorf.