Nodoka Okisawa, laureate of the Grand Prix 2019

After a Final between Haoran Li (China, 33), Victor Jacob (France, 28) et Nodoka Okisawa (Japan, 32), the jury chose Nodoka Okisawa as laureate of the Grand Prix de Direction of the 56th International Competition for Young Conductors.
She succeeds Ben Glassberg, winner in 2017, and won all three main prizes:

  • Grand Prix de Direction 2019
  • Coup de cœur de l’orchestre” (orchestra’s favorite)
  • Coup de cœur du public” (audience’s favorite)

The jury also chose to award a Special Mention to Victor Jacob.

2019 Jury

Yan Pascal Tortelier

Jury chairman, Conductor

Yan Pascal Tortelier enjoys a distinguished career as guest conductor of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. He began his musical career as a violinist and, at fourteen, won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatoire, making his soloist debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra shortly afterward. Following general musical studies with Nadia Boulanger, Tortelier studied conducting with Franco Ferrara at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. This season, Yan Pascal Tortelier continues as Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra with whom he has built a very special relationship in this role during recent seasons. Former positions have included Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Ulster Orchestra (1989-1992) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-2008). He was also Principal Conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2011. Following his outstanding work as Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic between 1992 and 2003, including annual appearances at the BBC Proms and a very successful tour of the US to celebrate the orchestra’s 60th anniversary season, he was given the title of Conductor Emeritus and continues to work and record with the orchestra regularly. Yan Pascal Tortelier also holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Following a concert at Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon in August 2018, Tortelier opens the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s season, before returning to the US for concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Other season highlights include return appearances with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Recent highlights have also included appearances in North America and Canada with the Pittsburgh, Dallas, Montreal, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Baltimore symphony orchestras. Yan Pascal Tortelier has collaborated with major orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala Milan, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras. Further afield he has collaborated with the Sydney and the Melbourne Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, and Malaysian philharmonic orchestras. Tortelier has enjoyed a long association with Chandos Records, resulting in an extensive catalogue of recordings, notably with the BBC Philharmonic and Ulster orchestras, and including award-winning cycles of the orchestral music of Debussy, Ravel (featuring his own orchestration of Ravel’s Piano Trio), Franck, Roussel, and Dutilleux. He has also conducted critically acclaimed discs of repertoire ranging from Hindemith and Kodaly to Lutoslawski, and Karlowicz. With the Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, he has recorded the Ravel and Stravinsky piano concertos and Stravinsky’s Petroushka, plus a disc of works by Florent Schmitt. Tortelier’s most recent recording for Chandos is of Roussel’s Evocations with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and CBSO Chorus.

Catherine Larsen-Maguire


Catherine Larsen-Maguire was born in Manchester, England, and is now based in Berlin. After ten years as principal bassoonist at the KomischeOper Berlin, where she also directed concerts and operatic performances, she began to concentrate exclusively on conducting in 2012. Catherine Larsen-Maguire’s repertoire ranges from the baroque to the 21st century; she has a special interest in contemporary music and has directed the first performances of several works. She has conducted numerous orchestras and ensembles throughout Europe, and held a guest professorship in conducting at the University of the Arts, Berlin. Larsen-Maguire also places great emphasis on working with younger musicians, and is very much in demand as a conductor and coach for youth orchestras and summer festivals all round the world. She has been professor of conducting at the Femusc festival in Brazil since 2013. In 2017 she will debut with the Slovenian Radio Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, the Yun Ensemble in South Korea, OFUNAM in Mexico City and at the Buzzards Bay (USA) festival, as well as returning to the Sunflower Music Festival in Kansas. Catherine Larsen-Maguire read music at Cambridge University, before studying the bassoon with Klaus Thunemann in Hanover, and at the Karajan Academy in Berlin, which gave her the opportunity to play regularly in the Berlin Philharmonic. She won the top prize in the 1996 Prague Spring Bassoon Competition and has played as guest Principal Bassoon in the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestras.

Eric Tanguy


Eric Tanguy has become one of the most widely performed and broadcast French composers of our days. A student of Horatiu Radulescu, he subsequently completed his education with Ivo Malec, Gérard Grisey and Betsy Jolas at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. He has received the “Grand prix de la SACEM” (2012) and was twice declared “Composer of the Year” at the Victoires de la musique classique (in 2004 and 2008). He was also the recipient of the “Villa Medicis hors les murs” prize (1989), the Kranichstein Musikpreis in Darmstadt (1992), and the Hervé-Dugardin Prize of the SACEM (1997). A resident of the Académie de France in Rome (1993-1994), Eric Tanguy was a guest of the Tanglewood Music Center on a special invitation from Henri Dutilleux. He was composer in residence in Champagne-Ardenne, in Lille, at the Orchestre de Bretagne, and at the Festival des Arcs. He was guest composer at the Festival “Aspects des Musiques d’Aujourd’hui” in Caen (2007). Eric Tanguy has been appointed Resident Composer at Besançon Music Festival in 2018/2019. His output comprises more than hundred works to this day, ranging from solo pieces to concertos, vocal pieces and symphonic works. They have been included into the repertoire of major performers of our time: conductors (Alain Altinoglu, Lionel Bringuier, Jesús López Cobos, Paavo Järvi, Seiji Ozawa, Michel Plasson, Marko Letonja, Yutaka Sado, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stefan Sanderling…), soloists (Piotr Anderszewski, Nicholas Angelich, Anne Gastinel, Ivry Gitlis, François-Frédéric Guy, François Leleux, Vahan Mardirossian, Emmanuel Pahud, Mstislav Rostropovitch…), ensembles (les quatuors Arditti, Diotima, Modigliani, Ysaÿe, Trio Wanderer, Ensemble Intercontemporain,Tokyo Sinfonietta, London Sinfonietta…) and numerous French and foreign orchestras (Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Gävle Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahti Sinfonia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Royal Northern Philharmonia…) Since 2002, Eric Tanguy is teaching composition at the Conservatoire Paul Dukas and since October 2017 at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. His reputation as a composer and professor has brought him invitations for masterclasses and lectures all around the world (New England Conservatory, Royal Academy and Royal College in London, USC and Colburn School in Los Angeles, Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Composers’ Union in Zagreb, French Music Academy in Kyoto…).

Jean-Francois Verdier


Jean François Verdier has successfully several careers. Acclaimed as one of the best clarinettists today, super-soloist at the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris, Prize-winner of several international competitions: Tokyo, Wien, Anvers, he is invited also to play with the Royal Concertgebouw d’Amsterdam. He plays under the baton of Léonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Pierre Boulez, Valery Gergiev, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Riccardo Muti… His partners are Barbara Bonney, Pierre Laurent Aimard, Emmanuel Pahud, the quatuor Debussy, Paul Meyer, Jonathan Gilad, the soloists of the big European orchestras Berlin, Wien… Jean-François Verdier is a teacher at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris since 2011 and he gives master-classes in Japan, in China, in Europe. He had also written and published several pedagogic scores, edited in the collection under his name (Billaudot). He works for the children and he has recently recorded ‘La première fois que je suis née’ (Cuvellier- Dupin, Gallimard), composed and recorded ‘Anna, Léo et le gros ours de l’armoire’ (Friot-Verdier, Actes sud). He is also a brilliant conductor, he won the Prix Bruno Walter at the Lugano International Conducting Competition in 2001 and he is immediately recognised like the best young conductor. With the precious advices from the great conductors as Armin Jordan and Kent Nagano (he has been their assistant), he begins a great career of conductor. Conductor in residence at the Orchestre National de Lyon (2008, 2010), he is the new Musical Director of the Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté since 2010. He is invited by the most prestigious international operas and orchestras: Opéra-Bastille in Paris (big success in 2009 with Werther by Massenet, in 2011 with Les enfants du paradis, live broadcasted in the cinemas in the world), Teatro Real de Madrid (Pélleas et Mélisande), Stattsoper de Munich, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Berne, Grand Théâtre du Luxembourg, Nagoya Philharmonic, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Opéra National de Montpellier, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Orchestre de Taipei, Orchestres du Sistema au Venuezuela, Folles Journées de Nantes et Tokyo… He works with famous artists: Susan Graham, Rolando Villazon, Inva Mula, Nina Romanova, Béatrice Uria-Monzon, Ludovic Tézier, Nadine Denize, Olivier Charlier, Emmanuel Rossfelder, Jean-François Heisser, Laurent Korcia, Nemanja Radulovic, Isabelle Faust…

Liza Kerob

Solo Violin

Liza Kerob starts the violin at 5 years old. She won a 1st Prize in Chamber Music at the CNSM in Paris in 1991 in the class of Michel Strauss and a 1st Prize of Violin in 1992 in the class of Gérard Poulet. Admitted that same year to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in Aaron Rosand’s class, she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor degree. She continued her musical studies at the Juilliard School in New York in the class of Glenn Dicterow where she obtained a Master degree in 1998. She is also perfecting with renowned concert artists and teachers such as Eduard Schmieder, Hermann Krebbers, Erik Friedmann, Felix Galimir and Viktor Danchenko. Liza Kerob has won numerous awards in international violin competitions, including the 2nd Grand Prix at the Douai Competition in 1996, the 1st prize at the Artists International contest in New York in 1998, the 4th prize at the Pablo de Sarasate contest in Spain in 1999… She is also Laureate of the Natexis Foundation since 1995. In May 2000, she was named “Supersolist” of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Marek Janowski. She has performed frequently in recitals in festivals and in the Amsterdam Concertgebow and Carnegie Hall in New York. As a soloist, she performs the concertos of Brahms, Tchaikowski, Lalo, Sibelius, Beethoven, Dvorak, Khatchaturian, Mendelssohn, Bruch…, accompanied by the symphonic orchestras of Tours, Avignon-Provence, Douai, Mulhouse, Mâcon, the Republican Guard Orchestra, the Pampelone Symphony Orchestra (Spain), the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Samara Symphony Orchestra (Russia), the Divertimento Symphony Orchestra, the European Romantic Orchestra, the Orchestra Regional Film Festival and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. She regularly shares the stage with renowned concert artists including Yakov Kreizberg, Roustem Saïtkoulov, Vahan Mardirossian, Nicolas Bringuier, Gary Hoffman, Eric-Maria Couturier, Laurent Wagshal and Jean-François Zygel.

Annette Mangold

Artistic advisor

After her studies at the universities of music and performing arts in Stuttgart and Vienna, Annette Mangold started her professional career at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. As head of artistic administration she was responsible for planning a great range of chamber music and orchestra concerts. She moved to France in 2008 to work for three years as “Conseillère Artistique” for the Orchestre national de Lyon, subsequently as general manager for the baroque orchestra and chorus “Le Concert d’Astrée”, working alongside Emmanuelle Haim and discovering the world of baroque opera. At the beginning of the 2013/2014 season she took on the position as “Director of Artistic Planning” of the Berliner Philharmoniker, collaborating closely with the chief conductor (Sir Simon Rattle until the season 2017/18, Kirill Petrenko from 2019/20) and the orchestra, planning concerts in Berlin and on tour.

Timothy Walker

Artistic director

Timothy Walker was formerly the founder and Chief Executive of World Orchestras, a company established to present an International Orchestras Season at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Concert Hall, and prior to that General Manager of the Australian Chamber Orchestra between 1989 and 1999. Previous positions included Marketing and Development Manager at the ACO, and Concert Manager, then Executive Officer, of the Canberra School of Music, Australian National University. He was on the Board of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) for six years and served as Secretary, Treasurer, member of the Executive Committee, Chair of the Development Committee and Chair of the Organising Committee of the 15th International Congress of ISPA held at the Sydney Opera House in 2001. Timothy Walker was an inaugural member of the Australian International Cultural Council, and has served as a director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, a member of the External Advisory Board of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Deputy Chair of the Music Council of Australia and a director of the Orchestral Network of Australia. He was on the judging panel of the inaugural Australian Business Arts Foundation Awards, has been a judge of the Freedman Classical Musician Fellowships in Australia and a member of the juries of the London International Piano Competition, the Victor de Sabata Conducting Competition in Trieste and the Princess Astrid Music Prize in Trondheim. Timothy Walker is a former Chairman of the Association of British Orchestras and serves on the Boards of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Henry Wood Hall, the Serge Rachmaninoff Foundation and London Music Masters. He is a co-recipient with the Australian Chamber Orchestra of the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award, a recipient of the Nugget Award of the Australian Institute of Arts Management and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2000 for services to arts administration in Australia. Timothy Walker has an honours degree in Arts, a Diploma of Music and a Diploma of Education from the University of Tasmania and a Diploma of Financial Management from the University of New England. He has been a consultant to The Australian Ballet, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo. He is a member of the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Athenaeum Club, London, and was a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 2012/13. In May 2014 Timothy was made an Honorary Member of the Royal College of Music, London.

2019 Candidates

The 3 finalists

Nodoka Okisawa

Japan, 32

Nodoka Okisawa won the 1st prize and the special award at the 18th Tokyo International Music Competition for Conducting and the 3rd prize at the 7th International Conducting Competition Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest. She studied at Tokyo University of Arts and Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler under following professors: Christian Ehwald, Hans-Dieter Baum, Manuel Nawri, Ken Takaseki and Tadaaki Otaka. Okisawa was chosen as a scholar of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Foundation and studied under Prof. Kurt Masur. She has also participated in masterclasses by Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Prof. Peter Gülke and Riccardo Muti. Orchestras she has conducted include Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra, George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Orchestra Philharmonique de Nice and more. She conducted the new opera “Neue Szenen” at Deutsche Oper Berlin and worked on many other opera projects.

Victor Jacob

France, 28

Currently assistant conductor of Gergely Madaras at Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège (Belgium), Victor Jacob studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and with Alain Altinoglu at Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris. He also took part in many masterclasses, including Bernard Haitink in Lucerne, Marin Alsop in Saõ Paulo or David Zinman in London.

Semi-finalist of Besançon and Hong-Kong conducting competition, he is regularly invited to conduct Orchestre National de Montpellier Occitanie as well as the Choeur and Maîtrise de Radio France. Victor Jacob already conducted several orchestras, including Campos do Jordao Festival Orchestra in Brasil, Miskolc Symphony Orchestra in Hungary, Hong-Kong Sinfonietta, Orchestre Symphonique de Tours, Bucarest Symphony Orchestra or Kielce Symphony Orchestra in Poland.

Among his engagements as guest conductor, Victor Jacob is often invited as an assistant for opera productions, including Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestre National de Montpellier Occitanie, Orchestre National de France or Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France at Chorégies d’Orange.

This season, he was appointed assistant conductor of Fabien Gabel at Orchestre Français des Jeunes and musical director of Orchestre National de Lyon Youth Orchestra.

Victor Jacob is laureate of SAFRAN Foundation, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Haoran Li

China, 33

Haoran Li, the first prize winner of 5th International Conducting Competition "Jeunesses Musicales” in Bucharest-Romania is quickly becoming one of the rising conductors of his generation. He has recently won ‘the Prize of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France‘ and ‘Audience Prize’ at The 4th Evgeny Svetlanov International Conducting Competition2018 in Paris ,France
Born into a musical family in China, Haoran Li showed his musical talent from an early age.
He started learning the piano at the age of six and had his first public concert at the age ten.
He studied Orchestral Conducting under Prof. Xia Xiao-Tang for his Bachelor’s Degree at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in China.
In 2011 moved to Germany to continue his musical study at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik ”Hanns Eisler”-Berlin, where he was admitted with the highest grade among all candidates. In 2016 he got his “Konzertexam” at Hochschule für Musik ”Hanns Eisler”. His teachers include Prof. Christian Ehwald, Prof. Hans-Dieter Baum, Prof. Alexander Vitlin.


Laurent Comte

France, 26

Saxophonist, Laurent Comte graduated at the Conservatoire de Besançon in the class of Cécile Dubois; he holds a degree in musicology.

In 2013, he devoted himself to conducting with Pierre Migard. He obtained his Diploma of Musical Studies in Besançon, as well as the Diploma of the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris in the class of Dominique Rouits. Since 2015, he studied at the University of Music of Lausanne in Master of Management with Aurélien Azan Zielinski. He studied at the Prague School of Music under Tomás Kutnik and Ivan Parik. He was assistant conductor of Norbert Baxa in “Hamlet”'s production at the Plzen Opera House (Czech Republic).

His experience was forged in contact with the International Academy of Atri (Italy), the Orchestra Music en Seine in Paris, the Opéra de Massy, the University Symphonic Orchestra and the HEMU of Lausanne, the North Philharmonic Czech of Teplice or various orchestras of the region.

Hee-Beom Jeon

South Korea, 35

Hee-Beom Jeon was born in 1984 in Gumi, South Korea and began to play the flute at the age of 12. He initially studied flute with Nils Thilo Krämer at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz between 2003 – 2005, subsequently studying choral conducting with Johannes Prinz and orchestral conducting with Martin Sieghart between 2007 – 2010. In 2016 Hee-Beom received his master’s degree in orchestral conducting with distinction.

Hee-Beom has taken part in masterclasses with Johannes Schläfli (Swizerland), Howard Williams (England) , Alim Shakh (Russia) and Jaap van Zweden (Netherlands). He has frequently conducted the Wind Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra of University of Graz as well as the University Choir.

Last season, he conducted a programme of Rachmaninov's "piano concerto no.3" with Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, and Saint Saens' "Symphony no.3" and Tchaikovsky's "Symphony no.5" with the Gstaad Festival Orchestra in Festival-Zelt Gstaad in 2017.
He had a concert with Gyeunggi Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019.

He was a quarter finalist in the 55th International Competition Besancon in 2017 and was selected to participate in the Malko Competition for Young Conductors in 2018.

Yu Sugimoto

Japan, 29

Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1990, Yu Sugimoto has performed at first as a pianist in Japan and Europe and has won and received honors in numerous competitions. After he studied Piano and Piano Chamber music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW) under Prof. Avedis Kouyoumdjian, since October 2015 he has been a conducting student at the Hamburg University of Music and Theater (HfMT) under Prof. Ulrich Windfuhr. So far, he has conducted the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyoto Symphony orchestra (in Japan), Hamburger Symphoniker, Staatsoperette Dresden, Orchester des Landestheaters Detmold, Philharmonie Baden-Baden, Thüringer Symphoniker, Sttatskapelle Halle, Sinfonieorchester Münster, Das Philharmonische Orchester der Stadt Heidelberg (in Germany) and Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese (in Italia). Also he conducted many operas like "Die Zauberflöte", "La clemenza di Tito", "Hänsel und Gretel", "Rigoletto", "Eugene Onegin", "Alcina", "Oreste", "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" (V.Ullmann), etc.

Other candidates of the 2nd Round

Anne-Louise Bourion

France, 28

Anne-Louise Bourion began studying piano and oboe from the age of 3. After a bachelor of accompaniment with the CNSM of Lyon (D.Selig), she obtains a master in vocal coaching with the CNSM of Paris in June 2018 (E.Guiomar). She is currently repetitor at the Opera de Limoges for the project Operakids. In 2013, she began conducting at the Conservatoire de Lille in the class of Jean-Sébastien Béreau and studied there for two years, while being assistant choirmaster of the Cantrel of Lyon and assistant conductor of the Orchestra INSA-Universities of Lyon. She is regularly called to be choirmaster and assistant conductor for opera and operetta productions in festivals in the region of Lyon, and punctual assistant conductor of the Pelléas Chamber Orchestra, directed by Benjamin Lévy. She perfected herself with Claire Levacher, Colin Metters and Alim Shakh. She won the first prize and the "orchestra award" of the Baugé Opera competition during the summer of 2019.

Hongjun Chen

China, 22

Chen Hongjun was born in Nanjing in 1996. He studied piano at the age of four, taught from Sun shuren. He then learned to play the violin at the age of eight. In 2012, he was admitted to the department of conduction of the Central Music College with excellent performance, and was taught by Professor Chen Bing. At school, he conducted many modern works and received favorable comments. In 2015, he graduated from the conduction department of the Central Music College with excellent results, and he learned from Professor Xia xiaotang. In 2016, he conducted the "accidental art" modern music special concert of Beijing youth art festival. In 2017, he will command the fifth "voice dance set". His excellent works have been praised unanimously. In June of the same year, with the sound song department of the Music College and the youth symphonic orchestra of the Central Music College, the opera "Iolanta" of Tchaikovsky was a great success. In October of the same year, he conducted the opening ceremony of the Beijing youth art festival and several concert works, which received unanimous praise.

Johann Stuckenbruck

USA, 28

American/British conductor Johann Stuckenbruck works with some of the UK’s leading orchestras and opera houses and is in demand across the country in both symphonic and operatic repertoire. Graduating with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in 2017, Johann has since made debuts as second conductor on Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust at the Edinburgh Festival with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra, at Glyndebourne in the world premiere of Belongings by Lewis Murphy/Laura Attridge, and as a guest conductor with the Hallé Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Johann has recently assisted at Glyndebourne on their festival production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and made his Bloomsbury Theatre debut conducting Kurt Weill’s The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken. He looks forward to assisting on Opera North’s production of Turn of the Screw in the 2019/20 Season. His mentors have included Sian Edwards, Marin Alsop, Sir Mark Elder and Rafael Payare.

Charlotte Politi

Italy/France, 29

Charlotte Politi graduated with a master degree from Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe (Germany), where she studied with Werner Stiefel and Andreas Weiss, and she just finished her studies at University of Michigan (USA) under the guidance of Kenneth Kiesler. She also took masterclasses witb Colin Metters, Johannes Schlaefli, and Michel Tabachnik at the Accademia Chigiana (Siena, Italy) in 2015. During her studies, Charlotte Politi conducted several concerts with Baden-Baden Philharmonie, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen. She has been active part in the foundation of groups and ensembles, such as Musica InContro Ensemble (MIC, Italy), and Ann Arbor Camerata (USA), of which she was music director during the 2018/2019 season. During her studies, she developed a vast repertoire, ranging from symphonic to opera, and contemporary music, giving many premiers and collaborating with young composers.

Ngai Cheung Sit

Hong-Kong, 30

Ngai Cheung Sit is an active conductor from Hong Kong. He is the 1st prize winner of the International Conducting Competition Augburg in 2016 and has been awarded the Hugh S. Roberton Prize for Orchestral Conducting. In 2016, SIT moved to Glasgow to pursue a Conducting Master’s degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the guidance of Garry Walker and Alasdair Mitchell. Meanwhile, he was under the tutelage of world-class conductors – Christian Kluxen, Jean-Claude Picard, Christopher Seaman, David Danzmayr, Martyn Brabbins, Jessica Cottis and Robin Ticciati, and had the chance to conduct some of the best orchestra in the UK, including BBC Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

After finished his master degree in Glgasgow, SIT was invited by the Mozartuem University in Salzburg and pursuing post-graduation diploma under guidance of Prof. Bruno Weil, Prof. Reinhard Goebel and Prof. Johannes Kalitzke. During his time in Glasgow and Salzburg, he was invited to conduct two Opera productions with the Mozarteum University Opera, Bald Reichenhall Philharmonic Orchestra, and South Czech Philharmonic among others.

Other candidates of the 1st Round

Ivan Demidov

Russia, 28

Ivan Demidov was born in 1990. In 2009 he finished his studies at the Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg Musical College (music theory); in 2014 graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory, orchestra and opera conducting (tutored by prof. Aleksandr Dmitriev). Ivan Demidov collaborated with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (concert at Grand Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia), the Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Symphonic Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia for children and youth and the Saint-Petersburg Chamber Opera Theatre. He also worked a lot with modern young composers.

Since 2017 Ivan Demidov is Kapellmeister of the Staatstheater Augsburg, Germany. He has conducted among others “The Four Seasons” (ballet), “Swan Lake”, “La forza del destino”, “Die Zauberflöte”, “Dalibor”, “Solaris”, “Roxy und ihr Wunderteam”. Further projects are “Don Pasquale”, “JFK” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Giselle” and “In The Penal Colony” by Philip Glass.

In 2017 became a finalist of The 55th International Competition for young conductors in Besançon, France. His repertoire includes Mozart's “Così fan tutte” and “Le nozze di Figaro”, Poulenc's “The Human Voice”, Tchaikovsky's “Eugene Onegin”, Bizet’s “Carmen” as well as symphonic works by Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Schumann, Weber.

Georg Köhler

Germany, 31

Born in Germany, Georg Köhler’s recent highlights include co-conducting the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich alongside Kent Nagano in Ives’ "4th Symphony", as well as conducting performances with several orchestras including the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Musikkollegium Winterthur and Junge Deutsche Philharmonie.
Looking forward, Köhler will return to the Theater Basel, leading ballet-performances of "Snow White" as well as assisting Jonathan Stockhammer in Nonos "Al gran sole carico d’amore".
Also an active opera conductor, Köhler has conducted productions of "I Pagliacci" and "Hänsel und Gretel" at opera houses in Pilzen and Meiningen, and performances of "Madama Butterfly", "La Traviata", "Die Zauberflöte" in Pilzen and Teplice, "Death in Venice" (ballet) at Theater Basel and "Die Formel" (WP) at Konzert Theater Bern, where, since 2014, he is frequently conducting family and school concerts.
Köhler studied conducting in Stuttgart and Zurich where he graduated “with distinction”. He has participated in masterclasses with conductors including Bernard Haitink, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Zinman and Jaap van Zweden.

Jingsong Lin

China, 33

Jingsong Lin was born in Jilin, China in 1985. He was admitted into the faculty of conducting of Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China in 2006, under the instruction of professor Taicheng Quan, and gained his bachelor`s degree in the major of symphony conductor. After he graudated from Shenyang conservatory of music, he conducted the Youth Orchestra of Shenyang Conservatory of Music from 2010 to 2013.

From 2014 to 2016, he entered into Hochschule fuer Musik Karlsruhe for master study majored in Symphony conducting. Following professor Andreas Weiss and professor Werner Stiefel. Since 2017, he has been the conductor of the Xiamen Philharmonic orchestra.

The professional orchestra he conducted: Constance Philharmonic Orchestra; Baden Philharmonic Orchestra; Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; Potsheim Chamber Orchestr; Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra; Shenzhen City Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jonathan Mann

UK, 33

British conductor Jonathan Mann is currently the Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Fellow at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and was prize winner at the Jeunesses Musicales Conducting Competition 2015.

His work as founding Music Director of the Cardiff Sinfonietta has seen the orchestra broadcast for the BBC and perform with soloists including Nicola Benedetti and Evelyn Glennie.

Jonathan has collaborated with composers Diana Burrell, Peter Maxwell Davies and Mark-Anthony Turnage. He has conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, ‘Composers of Wales’ concert series several times and also premiered five new operas with Size Zero Opera (UK).

Passionate about inspiring young musicians, he has worked in Europe and Asia with numerous youth orchestras. Since 2015 he has mentored students from the Immanuel Orchestra - Music for Life project based in the Bangkok slums.

Jonathan studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and with Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Festival.

Léo Margue

France, 29

Léo Margue was formed in conducting by Philippe Cambreling and joined the CNSMD in Paris in 2013 (in Alain Altinoglu's class), where he participated in masterclasses of David Zinman, Mikko Franck and Paavo Järvi. In 2018, he recorded two albums dedicated to composers Fabien Touchard and Camille Pépin. He also collaborates with Martin Matalon, Juan Arroyo and Benjamin Attahir, and works regularly with “Tm+”. He followed courses from Peter Eötvös in “Master-“ in Budapest, and founded in 2016 the ensemble Liken, with Timothy Quost. Active in pedagogy, he was assistant conductor at the Youth Academy of the Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté in 2015. In 2017, he directed youth orchestras in the El Sistema program in Caracas. He has collaborated with the Orchestre National d'Ile-de-France, Orchestre national de Lille, and Orchestre de Picardie. He is also invited to the Symphony Orchestra of the Toulon Opera as part of the Roquevaire Festival and the Kyoto Music Festival in Japan.

Silvina Peruglia

Spain/Argentina, 33

Silvina Peruglia studied Master in Orchestral Conducting at the Haute École de Musique de Genève with Prof Laurent Gay. Previously, she studied at the National University of Arts, Buenos Aires. She also participated in Masterclasses with conductors Marin Alsop, Sian Edwards, Eiji Owe, Johannes Schlaefli and Jaap Van Zweeden, among others. In 2015, she assisted Maestro Antonio Pappano with the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecila at Teatro Colón. She also worked as assistant conductor in the Opera production of «La Rosa» by Martín Matalón and at Teatro Avenida as assistant of Carlos Vieu in the 2012 «Rigoletto» production. Since 2012 assumed the music direction of different opera projects, such as, «Die Fledermaus» (2017) «Cosi fan Tutte» (2016), «Luisa Fernanda» F. Moreno (2015), «Don Giovanni» (2014), «L’ elisir d’amore» G. Donizetti (2012). Ms. Peruglia has been the recipient of the “Bourse d’excellence” de la HEM- Fondation Wilsdorf, Gertrud Rüegg Stiftung Stipendium, Mozarteum Argentino Scholarship, amongst others.

Federico Tibone

Italy, 33

Born in Turin, Federico Tibone studied at the Conservatory of his hometown. He began as pianist and won the 2nd prize at the piano competition "Premio Venezia" (Teatro la Fenice, 2009). He has been working regularly at the Teatro Regio di Torino since 2009 and in 2012 he is head of the children's choir at "Scuola Civica" in Turin.

Since 2015 he lives in Paris, where he joined the Paris Opera Academy until 2017. He then continues to collaborate with the Paris Opera, and with the Master of Radio France or the Queen Elisabeth Chapel in Brussels. He is also studying with Nicolas Brochot and is receiving advice from Jorma Panula, Donato Renzetti, Vittorio Parisi and Jin Wang.

His deep knowledge of the repertoire of opera allows him to successfully conduct the musical direction of “Così fan Tutte” (Orvieto, Italy, 2017) and “Un Ballo in Maschera” (Almaty, Kazakhstan, 2018). In 2018 he won the 2nd prize at the "International Competition for Luigi Mancinelli Opera Conductors" (Orvieto, Italy).

Salvador Vazquez Sanchez

Spain, 33

Born in 1986. He has been chief conductor of Malaga Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor of Extremadura Symphony Orchestra and Extremadura Youth Orchestra, assistant conductor of the Academy Orchestra of Barenboim-Said Foundation. He is currently chief conductor of the Málaga Opera Choir and artistic director of Youth Baroque Orchestra of Andalusia. He has conducted orchestras such as Spanish Radio Television Symphony Orchestra, Spanish National Youth Orchestra, Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra, Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, Extremadura Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Cordoba, Granada City Orchestra, Navarre Symphony Orchestra, Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra, Tenerife Symphony Orchestra etc. He has collaborated with conductors such as Miguel Romea, Miquel Ortega, Pablo González, Marco Guidarini, Octav Calleya, Andrés Salado, Manuel Hernandez Silva, etc. He has recently recorded his debut album for Sony Classical with the Spanish violinist Jesús Reina.

Su-Han Yang

Taiwan, 30

Berlin based Taiwanese conductor Su-Han Yang won the First Prize in the 10th International Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition for Conductors in 2017. After successful collaborations with the Silesian Philharmonic, the Pomeranian Philharmonic, the A. Rubinstein Philharmonic, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, and the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, in the 2019/20 season he will conduct the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gliwice Chamber Orchestra, and return to the Silesian Philharmonic. Since 2016 he conducts regularly the Camerata Taiwan in their annual concert tour. Mr. Yang has been selected for the Mentoring Program of Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation in 2018. He studied with Jun Märkl at the Pacific Music Festival in 2017. In 2015 he worked with Riccardo Muti at the Italian Opera Academy. He graduated from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, the National Taiwan Normal University, and the Tunghai University. He studied under Christian Ehwald, Hans-Dieter Baum, Apo Ching-Hsin Hsu, and Annie Chung.

Steps and dates of the 56th Competition

Preliminary rounds – April and May 2019

Each candidate is required to conduct symphonic works performed by two pianos in front of two jury members.

  • Pianists
    David Berdery and Thomas Palmer
  • Jury members
    Catherine Larsen Maguire
    Jorge Rotter (replacing Yan Pascal Tortelier, suffering)


  • Serguei Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances, opus 45
    Transcription for two pianos
    Edition Boosey et Hawkes
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony no. 35 « Haffner » K.385
    Orchestra score. Piano 1 = harmony. Piano 2 = strings.
    Edition Breitkopf & Härtel

Germany, Berlin

Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”
April 15-18, 2019
115 candidates

China, Beijing

Central Conservatory of Music
April 24-25, 2019
35 candidates

Canada, Montréal

Faculté de musique de l’Université de Montréal
April 27-28, 2019
30 candidates

France, Besançon

Conservatoire à rayonnement régional du Grand Besançon
April 30 to May 4, 2019
90 candidates

Final rounds – September 16-21, 2019

The final rounds take place from 16 to 21 September 2019 in Besançon, during the 72nd edition of the Besançon Music Festival. After the preliminaries (270 candidates) only twenty candidates will be entered into the orchestra rounds.

  • 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


Welcome meeting

Sunday 15th September, 4:30 pm

First round : Symphony

Monday 16th September, 2:30 and 8:00 pm
Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté
Richard Wagner : Siegfried Idyll, extracts
Jacques Ibert : Divertissement, extracts
> Maximum 20 candidates

Second round: Concerto and Symphony

Tuesday 17th September, 2:30 and 8:00 pm
Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté
Nicolas Dautricourt, violon
Ludwig van Beethoven : Symphonie n°2 en ré majeur op.36
Sergueï Prokofiev : Concerto pour violon et orchestre n°2 en sol mineur op.63
> Maximum 12 candidates

Semi-final: Oratorio

Wednesday 18th September, 2:30 pm
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern
Choir of the Opéra de Dijon
Francis Poulenc : Stabat Mater, extracts
> Maximum 6 candidates

Semi-final: Opera

Wednesday 18th September, 8:00 pm
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern
Six students of the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Cosi fan tutte, extracts
> Maximum 6 candidates

Final: Symphony and World Premiere

Saturday 21st September, 4:00 pm
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern
Éric Tanguy : Constellations, world premiere, order of the Festival
Richard Strauss : Mort et Transfiguration, poème symphonique op.24
> Maximum 3 candidates