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

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.”

612 young conductors wish to take part in the 2021 Malko Competition

October 2020

Once again the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has received a record number of applications from young conductors wishing to compete for the prizes in the Malko Competition for Young Conductors next June

There will be unusually stiff competition for a place at the conductor’s rostrum at the Danish National Symphony Orchestra’s international Malko Competition for Young Conductors 2021. No less than 612 young conductors from the whole world have applied to participate in the competition – and that is even more than last time, when the number of applicants was higher than ever before.

While the majority of the applicants come from the main territories of classical music in Europe, USA, Russia and Asia, there are also many applications from such areas as South and Central America as well -

making a total of no less than 65 nationalities.

What they all share is that they are under 35 years of age, studying to become or have already become professional conductors and have all sent in video recordings that in the months ahead will be studiously scrutinised by an internationally composed pre-jury.

A challenging time

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra is particularly glad for the large number of applicants, in the light of the present corona restrictions.

‘We know that it has been a great challenge for many of the young conductors to come up with a recent video recording for the application, for it has been difficult for many months now to put together an orchestra because of corona restrictions, prohibited gatherings and cancelled concerts in the various countries,’ project leader Marie Rørbech says.

‘So it is particularly pleasing to see so many applications from the whole world, for it shows that there is plenty of ambition and creativity in the young generation of conductors despite the present obstacles. Already now, we can see that there are many extremely strong prospective candidates in the field, with some of them already well into their professional careers.’

Attractive prizes

Part of the reason for the great interest in the Malko Competition is probably the attractive prizes that are at stake in the competition. Apart from the coveted 1st prize of €20,000, the conductor who ends up on the winner’s rostrum in June can look forward to a flying start to an international career as a conductor. For the 1st prize includes a contract to conduct a number of leading orchestras during the coming concert seasons, including such distinguished orchestras as the Oslo Philharmonic and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Another attraction of the Malko Competition is the opportunity to meet the internationally recognised chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Fabio Luisi, who both heads the competition jury and will also be a personal mentor for the Malko winner during a two-year period after the competition.

The Malko Competition is covered by Danish national public radio (DR P2) and TV (DR2) and will be livestreamed worldwide on this website.