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

The preliminary rounds will take place in the spring of 2021: the dates and venues given here are provisional, subject to the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic.

General presentation of the Competition

Steps of the 57th Competition

Preliminary rounds – April 16 to May 5, 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.

The names of the jury members, the pianists and the programme will be announced shortly.

France, Paris

École Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot
Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 April

Canada, Montréal

Conservatoire de musique de Montréal
Thursday 29 and Friday 30 April

France, Besançon

Conservatoire du Grand Besançon
Monday 3, Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 May

Germany, Berlin

Dates and place to be confirmed

China, Beijing

Dates and place to be confirmed

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

2021 Jury

The Jury Chairman of the 57th Competition will be the Conductor Paul Daniel

The full composition of the jury will be announced shortly.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.