Tuesday 4th July 2023

The 7th Edition of The MAHLER COMPETITION Marks a New Exciting Beginning

From July 7 to 15, young conductors in Bamberg will be given the unique opportunity to lead the world-renowned Bamberg Symphony and convince the international jury with their interpretations.

After the last competition in 2020, which took place at the beginning of the pandemic, the Bamberg Symphony is pleased to once again be able to invite young and upcoming talents from all over the world without any limitations.

For this seventh edition, not only 12 to 14, as usual, but 20 outstanding international candidates were selected. The number of applicants has never been this high: with 350 valid applications (282 male, 67 female) and almost 20% more women, both trends are clearly upward.

A total of 58 nations registered for the applications, more than ever before. The USA tops the list with 44 applications, followed by Germany with 30, Korea with 25, and China and Japan with 21 each.

The selected candidates come from the USA, Korea, Georgia, Israel, Ukraine and Peru, but also from Europe-among others from Norway, Italy, Poland or Germany. The youngest candidate is 21 years old, the oldest 35 years old. Please find all candidates listed with a short biography here.

The top-class international jury is also even broader this year with 15 people, and is once again made up of the most diverse members of the classical music world. In addition to patron Marina Mahler, who supports the jury as an honorary member, and jury president Jakub Hrůša, principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, conductors such as Barbara Hannigan and John Storgårds, music managers such as Deborah Borda and Pamela Rosenberg, but also composers and artists such as Thomas Hampson (The full list can also be found here).

The competition repertoire this year includes Gustav Mahler’s 7th Symphony, from which different movements will be played in each round. In addition, there will be Joseph Haydn-Symphony No. 92 in G major (1st round), Bernd Richard Deutsch-Con Moto (world premiere, commissioned by the Bamberg Symphony) (2nd round), Alan Berg-Seven Early Songs (semifinal) and Igor Stravinsky-Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D in the finale.

Jakub Hrůša, President of the Jury and Principal Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, underlines the uniqueness of the competition: “I am really excited to preside over the international jury of the 7th edition of the international Gustav Mahler conducting competition in July 2023. Participating in this highly profiled MAHLER COMPETITION with which my orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony, hopes to contribute to the world musical community by searching for the best talents amongst young conductors, belongs to the very highlights of my career…”

The MAHLER COMPETITION is a unique event in the vast panorama of competitions: not only are the participation fees free of charge, but also the travel and accommodation costs are covered by the organisation. This allows all participants to compete in Bamberg, regardless of their financial situation.

In addition, all candidates, regardless of the results of the competition, are invited to stay in Bamberg until the end of the competition, which gives them the opportunity to network with other colleagues and journalists, as well as to be advised by the orchestra and the jury after the competition has ended.

At the end of the competition, the jury will award the following prizes: First prize, €30,000; Second prize, €20,000; Third prize, €10,000. In addition, the winner will receive three years of professional support in the form of career coaching. New this year: the prize for the best interpretation of contemporary creation, offered by the Mahler Foundation (7,500€).

Previous winners include Lahav Shani (2013) and Kahchun Wong (2016), as well as the distinguished winner of the first competition in 2004, Gustavo Dudamel. All rounds of the competition as well as the grand final concert on 15 July, conducted by the winner and accompanied by a reception hosted by the Bavarian government, will be broadcast live on medici.tv.

To find out more information on this exciting upcoming competition, please visit the website here