The 57th edition of the International Competition for Young Conductors will take place in September 2021.

This information is subject to change according to the international health situation.
Please visit our website regularly to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.

General presentation of the Competition

Steps of the 57th Competition


Registration was open from January 25 to February 10, 2021, subject to availability. They closed on February 5, 2021.
The waiting list is also closed.

We remain informed of the evolution of the restrictions due to the epidemic, particularly concerning international travel :

  • In the event of total cancellation of the Competition before the preliminary rounds, the
    registration fees will be refunded;
  • In case of cancellation of the final rounds in September decided after the preliminary rounds has taken place, the registration fees will only be refunded to the selected candidates;
  • In the event that candidates are unable to travel due to pandemic-related travel restrictions – for the preliminary rounds or final rounds – their registration fees will be fully refunded.
2021 Competition Rules
2021 Poster

Preliminary rounds – April 20 to July 4, 2021

Each registered candidate is called to conduct symphonic works played by two pianists on two pianos, in front of two members of the jury.


  • David Berdery
  • Paul Montag

Jury members in charge of the preliminaries

  • Catherine Larsen-Maguire
  • Jacques Mercier


  • Claude Debussy
    La Mer, trois esquisses symphoniques
    Transcription for two pianos by André Caplet
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
    Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, op.43

Germany, Berlin

Institut Français
Postponed from 1 to 4 July 2021

France, Paris

École Normale de musique Alfred Cortot
20 and 21 April 2021
+ Addition of 23 April 2021

China, Beijing

Central Conservatory of Music
Postponed the 24 June 2021
by visioconference

Canada, Montréal

Conservatoire de musique
Postponed the 28 June 2021
by visioconference

France, Besançon

NEW PLACE: Théâtre Ledoux
From 3 to 5 May 2021

Final rounds – 13 to 18 September 2021

The finals will take place from 13th to 18th September 2021 in Besançon, during the 74th edition of the Besançon Franche-Comté International Music Festival.

Of the candidates who took part in the pre-selections, only twenty will be admitted to the final rounds with orchestra.

  • All of the rounds with orchestra are open to the public. All works are imposed.
  • The candidates will either be asked to conduct entire pieces or excerpts, or to rehearse the artists under their musical direction, according to their interpretation or at the jury’s request.

1st round, 2019 © Yves Petit


Welcome meeting

Sunday 12 September, 4:30pm

1st round Symphony

Monday 13 September, 2:30pm & 8:00pm
Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté
> Joseph Haydn : Symphonies n°90 et 103, extracts
(max 20 candidates)

2nd round Symphony

Tuesday 14 September, 2:30pm & 8:00pm
Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté
> Francis Poulenc : Sinfonietta, extracts
(max 20 candidates)

Semi-final Oratorio

Wednesday 15 September, 2:30pm
Orchestre national de Lyon
Chœur de l'Opéra de Dijon
& La Tempête, compagnie vocale
> Felix Mendelssohn : Elias op. 70, extracts
(max 8 candidates)

Semi-final Oper

Wednesday 15 September, 8:00pm
Orchestre national de Lyon
Soloists (six student singers from the Ecole Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot)
> Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Don Giovanni K.527, extracts
(max 8 candidates)

Final Symphony and World Premiere

Saturday 18 September, 400pm
Orchestre national de Lyon
> Camille Pépin : Aux confins de l’orage, world premiere, commissioned by the Festival
> Jean Sibelius : Symphonie n°5, op.82
(max 3 candidates)

2021 Jury

The Jury Chairman of the 57th Competition is the Conductor Paul Daniel

Paul Daniel

Jury chairman, Conductor

Paul Daniel became Music Director of the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine in 2013 and is also currently Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia. He held the same post at the West Australian Symphony Orchestra from 2009 – 2013. From 1997 to 2005 he was Music Director of English National Opera; from 1990 to 1997 he was Music Director of Opera North and Principal Conductor of the English Northern Philharmonia; and from 1987 to 1990 he was Music Director of Opera Factory.
Operatic engagements include the Royal Opera House Covent Garden,, La Monnaie Brussels, the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Zürich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Opéra National de Paris, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Teatro Real Madrid, the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe and the Bregenz Festival.
Paul Daniel’s orchestral engagements include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, OAE (with whom he recorded Elijah for Decca), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bavarian Radio SO, Swedish Radio SO, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic.
He has recorded a wide repertoire, and recent releases include a DVD of Lulu from La Monnaie.
He was awarded the CBE in the 2000 New Year’s Honours list.

Jacques Mercier

Jury member & juror of preselections, Conductor

Jacques Mercier has studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he was unanimously awarded the First Prize of conducting. In the same year, he was awarded the First Prize at the International Competition for Young Conductors in Besançon and was prize-winner of the Fondation de la Vocation.
He has quickly begun an international career. He conducts famous formations : the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre national de Radio France, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Stockholm, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Moscow, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande… Holder of the title of "Souveräner Dirigent" in Berlin, Jacques Mercier also performs at the Salzburg Festival, in Bucharest, Helsinki and Madrid, where he is acclaimed by critics as “one of the best French and European conductors of his generation”.
From 1982 to 2002, Jacques Mercier has been Artistic Director and Resident Conductor of the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France. "Displaying communicative energy and enthusiasm, Jacques Mercier managed to make his formation rise at the first places among French orchestras.” (O. Bellamy in L’Evénement du Jeudi) ; “Jacques Mercier has irrefutably proved his great talent, made of precision and mastery, but also with fire and panache.” (P. Petit in Le Figaro).
For seven years, Jacques Mercier has served as Resident Conductor of the Turku Philharmonic in Finland. This experience has been determining in his way of conducting works by North European composers such as Sibelius whose repertoire he made known in France. But his talent, made of precision, rigour, finesse and extreme sensibility, is also perfect when conducting 19th and 20th French repertoires, including new music for which he is standing up with passion – some creations, including some by Iannis Xenakis, Luis de Pablo, Philippe Manoury et Wolfgang Rihm belong to his repertoire.
Jacques Mercier has proved his curiosity and pertinence when choosing his recording. Bacchus and Ariane and Melodies by Albert Roussel have been awarded the Prize of the Académie Charles Cros, Djamileh by Bizet the Prize of the Académie du disque lyrique. His recording, Le Martyre de Saint-Sébastien by Claude Debussy for RCA, has got the "Choc" from the Monde de la Musique. Among lyrical works, Jacques Mercier conducts above all works from the French repertoire such as Carmen, Faust, Béatrice and Bénédict, Dialogues des Carmélites, Pelléas et Mélisande, Lakmé…
Chosen as the "2002 musical Personality" by the professional Union of dramatic and musical critics, Jacques Mercier was Resident Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orchestre National de Lorraine in Metz until 2017. His first CD with the orchestra, L’An Mil, by Gabriel Pierné was awarded the Diapason d’Or 2007.

Gillian Moore

Jury member, Director of Musical Institution

Director of Music and Performing Arts at Southbank Centre

Gillian Moore is Director of Music and Performing Arts at Southbank Centre in London, overseeing a large programme of classical, jazz and contemporary music in one of the world's largest cultural institutions. At Southbank Centre, Gillian has been committed to changing the landscape for music, developing initiatives in finding new audiences and in supporting new music. She has also been at the forefront of encouraging wider debate and positive action to address issues of diversity and equality in music, through initiatives such as Southbank Centre's Women in Music Breakfasts. During her distinguished career, she has collaborated with and commissioned works from many of the great musical and artistic figures of our age. Gillian has been awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Prince Charles in 2019.
Gillian was born in Glasgow, and has worked to bring music and the arts to the widest possible community for over 35 years. In 1983, Gillian became the first Education Officer at a UK orchestra, taking the London Sinfonietta into schools and prisons before becoming Head of Education at the Southbank Centre. Returning to the London Sinfonietta as Artistic Director between 1998 and 2006, Gillian commissioned many new works and developed an approach which connected new music to a wider culture, including visual art, dance and electronica.
Gillian is also a sought after writer on music. In 2019 her book 'The Rite of Spring - Music and Modernity' [Head of Zeus] was published to critical acclaim, and she has written for The Guardian, The Sunday Times and many other media outlets. As a broadcaster, she has been a regular contributor to BBC Television's coverage of the Proms, and makes regular appearances on BBC Radio 3, most recently writing and presenting a series of short programmes on composers and key moments in 20th century music as part of BBC Music's Our Classical Century. Gillian was a jury member for the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2018, and in 2019 was named one of the ten most powerful women in music in BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour 'Top 40 Women in Music Power List'.

Camille Pépin

Jury member, Composer

2020 : composer of the year in Victoires de la Musique Classique for her work The Sound of Trees
2020/2021 : residency in Festival International de musique de Besançon
2019 : release of the album Chamber Music (NoMadMusic)
2018 : nominated for the Trente Eclaireurs Vanity Fair
2018/2019 : Orchestre de Picardie residence
2017 : Music Prize from the Académie des Beaux-Arts
Novembre 2015 : Sacem Prize Symphonic Music "Young Composer »
Avril 2015 : World Premiere of Vajrayana in Philharmonie de Paris with the Orchestre national d'Île de France

Born in 1990, Camille Pepin is one of the most successful rising young composers of her generation. She began her musical studies at the Regional Conservatory in Amiens, studied with Thibaut Perrine and then entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where she was awarded first prizes (orchestration, analyse, harmonie, contrepoint and fugue & formes). She studied notably with composers Thierry Escaich, Guillaume Connesson, and Marc-André Dalbavie - all of whom were paramount in her musical journey.
She won numerous prizes : Jury & Audience Prizes at the composition competition Ile de Créations 2015, "young composer" Grand Prize SACEM 2015, Prize from the Académie des Beaux-Arts 2017, Trente Eclaireurs Vanity Fair 2018 and then, she is « composer of the year 2020 » at the Victoires de la Musique Classique.
Her works have been played by numerous orchestras (BBC Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Live Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre national de Lyon, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre national de Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestre national d’Île de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen, Orchestre de Picardie). They are conducted notably by Mikko Franck, Fabien Gabel, Ben Glassberg, Karen Kamensek, Leonard Slatkin & Arie Van Beek. In her concertos and chamber music, she works with Guillaume Bellom, Adélaïde Ferrière, Hermès Quartet, Julien Hervé, Thibault Lepri, Yan Levionnois, Fiona McGown, Trio Métral, Raphaëlle Moreau, Célia Oneto Bensaid, Ensemble Polygones, Anaëlle Tourret.
She is invited by numerous festivals & events (Festival de Besançon, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, Concours Long-Thibaud, Festival des Arcs, Présences, Messiaen, Aix-en-Provence, Musikstage Mondsee) and her works have been played in the most prestigious concert halls (Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Wiener Konzerthaus, Kölner Philharmonie, Barbican Center London, Philharmonie de Paris, Auditorium de Radio France, Halle aux Grains in Toulouse, Müpa in Budapest, Bozar in Bruxelles, Konzerthuset Stockholm, Konzerthaus Dortmund etc).
She is composer in residence with the Orchestre de Picardie in 2018 & 2019 and in festival de Besançon from 2019 to 2021.
Her first album Chamber Music is unanimously praised by the press (NoMadMusic, 2019).
Camille is a grant recipient of the Foundation Banque Populaire. Her works are published by Billaudot, Durand-Salabert-Eschig & Jobert.

Dima Slobodeniouk

Jury member, Conductor

Moscow-born Dima Slobodeniouk studied violin at Moscow Central Music School under Zinaida Gilels and Jevgenia Chugajev, at the Middle Finland Conservatory as well as the Sibelius Academy under Olga Parhomenko. He studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy under the guidance of Leif Segerstam, Atso Almila and Jorma Panula, he also studied under Ilya Musin and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Striving to inspire young musicians of the future. Continuing his work in education Slobodeniouk began a conducting initiative with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, providing an opportunity for students to work on the podium with a professional orchestra.
Lauded for his deeply informed and intelligent artistic leadership, Dima Slobodeniouk has held the position of Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia since 2013, which he combines with his positions as Principal Conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Sibelius Festival following his appointment in 2016. Linking his native Russian roots with the cultural influence of his later homeland Finland, he draws on the powerful musical heritage of these two countries.
He works with orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago, Baltimore as well as Sydney and NHK Symphony Orchestras.
The 2020/21 sees highlights such as Slobodeniouk’s debuts with Stockholm Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He returns to the Boston Symphony Orchestra to conduct Stravinsky’s complete Firebird, to the Minnesota Orchestra hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien including Scriabin’s Prometheus and Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms with the ORF-Choir, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in their 75th season with Truls Mørk and Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona.
Slobodeniouk’s discography was recently extended by recordings of Prokofiev Suites with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra works, with whom he previously he recorded works by Kalevi Aho (BIS). The latter received the BBC Music Magazine award in 2018. He has recorded works by Stravinsky with Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia (BIS), Perttu Haapanen and Lotta Wennäkoski with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Ondine) and works by Sebastian Fagerlund with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (BIS).

Jean-François Verdier

Jury member, Conductor

Jean-François Verdier is the artistic and musical director of the Victor Hugo Franche-Comté Orchestra.
Super-soloist of the Opéra de Paris, he is considered one of the best European clarinetists, winner of international competitions in Tokyo, Vienna, Antwerp, Colmar, Lugano, and plays under the direction of Bernstein, Ozawa, Muti, Gergiev, Salonen, Boulez, Jordan, Dohnanyi, Dudamel, Nelsons... He is notably invited by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and teaches at the CNSM in Paris.
He was awarded the Bruno Walter Prize at the Lugano International Conducting Competition in 2001, and it was with the advice of Armin Jordan and Kent Nagano that he began his career as a conductor, which was quickly acclaimed by the critics.
Resident conductor of the Orchestre national de Lyon (2008-10), he has been artistic director of the Orchestre Victor Hugo since 2010. With this orchestra, he has recorded several recordings that have won international critical acclaim.
He is in demand on the great lyrical and symphonic stages: Opéra national de Paris (Bastille et Garnier), Madrid, Montreal, Munich, Lausanne, Luxembourg, Bern, Biel, Brussels, Mexico City, Salerno, Tokyo, Nagoya, Vienna, Moscow Bolshoi...
He is also a guest of French national orchestras and operas: Capitole de Toulouse, Lyon, Montpellier, Metz, Bordeaux, Ile-de-France, Nantes, Ensemble orchestral de Paris... He has collaborated with Susan Graham, Rolando Villazon, Ludovic Tézier, Karine Deshayes, Isabelle Faust, Anne Queffélec, Sergei Nakariakov, Nemanja Radulovic... with choreographers Anna Teresa de Keermaeker, Jose Martinez... He is also a jury member for international competitions, notably with Leonard Slatkin, Dennis Russel Davies and Jorma Panula.
He composes musical tales: a suite for Peter and the wolf, The Duck is Still Alive! (text by Bernard Friot, with Jacques Gamblin, Milan); Anna, Léo et le gros ours de l'armoire (Actes sud) played at the Philharmonie de Paris (both Coup de Coeur de l'Académie Charles Cros); Nuage Rouge (text by Vincent Cuvellier) played at the Folle Journée de Nantes; Le Carnaval (gastronomic) des animaux.
He wrote a mini-opera for children created by the Capitole de Toulouse in 2019: Orphée.
Jean-François Verdier is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Katy Woolley

Jury member, Orchestral musician

Born in South West England in 1989, Katy Woolley was appointed principal horn of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2019 and is considered one of the most exciting musicians of her generation.
She studied as a scholar at the Royal College of Music in London with Simon Rayner and later at Berlin’s Universität der Künste with Christian Friedrich Dallmann. During her studies Ms. Woolley served as principal horn of the European Youth Orchestra before accepting the position of third horn in the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa Pekka Salonen, she was the first female brass member in the orchestra’s 75 year history. Katy graduated from the Royal College of Music with a first class degree and was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal by the HRH The Prince of Wales for best female leaver.
At the age of twenty-two, Katy was appointed principal horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra. This appointment led to her spreading her soloist in wings as she performed works by Mozart, Richard Strauss and Britten, as well as premiering Tansy Davies’ ‘Forest’ Concerto for four horns with the Philharmonia and New York Philharmonic Orchestras.
A passionate and dedicated teacher, Katy Woolley was professor of horn at the Royal Acdemy of Music in London, a post evolving into International Visiting Professor on her move to Amsterdam. As a guest teacher she has educated students all over Europe as well as North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, more recently enjoying making the most of the rise of technology in allowing far-reaching and world-wide student connections.

Catherine Larsen-Maguire

Juror of preselections, Conductor

Catherine Larsen-Maguire was born in Manchester and is now based in Berlin. Her repertoire ranges from the baroque to the 21st century; she has a special interest in contemporary music and has directed the first performances of numerous works. After ten years as principal bassoonist at the Komische Oper Berlin, where she also directed concerts and operatic performances, she began to concentrate exclusively on conducting in 2012. She made her operatic debut at the Komische Oper in 2009, conducting the German premiere of Elisabeth Naske’s „Die Rote Zora“.
Catherine Larsen-Maguire has shared the concert platform with internationally acclaimed singers and soloists; orchestras she has conducted include the Bremen, Magdeburg, Augsburg and Nuremburg Philharmonic Orchestras, the orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, the Bochum Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Slovenian Radio Orchestra, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, OFUNAM in Mexico City, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, the orchestra of the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Musikfabrik and Ensemble Resonanz.
Placing great emphasis on working with young professionals, Larsen-Maguire is very much in demand as a conductor for youth orchestras and in music colleges all round the world. As part of the Young Euro Classic Festival she made her debut in Berlin’s Konzerthaus, returning a year later to conduct a world premiere with the German Youth Ballet; this was followed by a tour of China with the same group. Becoming increasingly well-known as a teacher of conducting, she held a guest professorship in conducting at the University of the Arts, Berlin and was a faculty member at the annual Femusc Festival in Brazil for five years. She gives regular masterclasses in Germany and abroad, and was a jury member for the Besançon Competition for Young Conductors in 2017 and 2019.
The season 2019/20 and beyond will see Catherine conduct world premieres at the Ruhrtriennale in Germany and the Bridge Strings Festival in Glasgow, and make her debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, OSUSP in Sao Paulo, the Orquesta de Cámara de Chile, the Orchestre de Picardie and the Young Israel Philharmonic. She will also return to Granada, China, several orchestras in Mexico, the Slovenian Radio Orchestra, and to summer festivals in the USA.
Catherine Larsen-Maguire read music at Cambridge University, and studied the bassoon at the Royal Academy of Music in London, with Klaus Thunemann in Hanover, and at the Karajan Academy in Berlin. She won the top prize in the 1996 Prague Spring Bassoon Competition and has played as guest principal bassoonist in many of the major orchestras in Germany and England, working regularly with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle and Kirill Petrenko.