With the 74th edition of the Besançon international Music Festival and the 57th Young Conductors’ Competition, it is not only art and culture that are in the spotlight, it is our entire social life that is being celebrated!

The benefits are even more evident after a year of pandemics, even if certain precautions still need to be taken.
Since 1948, this international event has been the rhythm of our end of summer, offering us unforgettable moments. We only have to leaf through the album of memories to measure how much the festival and its competition are distinctive elements of our common heritage. A living heritage that is enriched each year by the performances of great interpreters, prestigious ensembles and talents discovered with emotion.
No need to be a music lover! Of a demanding quality, while being accessible to all, the programming is open to all forms of expression, including world music, weaving links through time
and cultures. It multiplies the free concerts, goes to meet different audiences, spreads from Besançon to Belfort through Lons-le-Saunier, Vesoul, Baume-les-Dames…
The richness and diversity of this event, its cultural, but also social and economic roots, give full meaning to the constant commitment of our communities to its organizers.
To paraphrase Georges Duhamel, we can say that music “is what makes a working day a living day”!

Brochure of the 74th edition
Press kit 2021
Complete review 2021 (French)
Photo & video gallery 2021

First review

Artistic review

The return of the Compagnie La Tempête, in Besançon and Baume-les-Dames, has once again left its mark with two very beautiful concerts.

The Orchestre national de Lyon, between two stages of the Competition, has reserved a beautiful evening with the pianist Alexandre Kantorow, with notably a piece by Camille Pépin, La Source d’Yggdrasil. Les Siècles brilliantly celebrated Saint-Saëns, while Les Dissonances offered to the public (younger than usual) a Rite of Spring “dazzling” [Resmusica], without conductor!

After a remarkable opening concert, the Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté, a privileged and historical partner of the Competition, brilliantly took on the demanding exercise of the first two rounds of the competition under the baton of the twenty young candidates.

In addition to vocal and symphonic music, the opening concerts of Bagad Kemper were very attractive, not forgetting Koum Tara and Hâl (Keyvan Chemirani) in world music, while the Apéro-jazz seems to be an appointment awaited by the inhabitants of Besançon in the first part of the evening.

If most of the evenings were well attended, in particular the closing concert which welcomed more than 700 people to hear the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto (postponed from 2020), some concerts were a little less attractive: the recital of Boris Berezovsky (with a change of date) or the evening of “Cordes au féminin” with Le Concert Idéal.

In the region, the attendance was also contrasted, with a large audience in Lons-le-Saunier and Baume-les-Dames, but more cautious in Dole as well as on the stages of Vesoul and Belfort (this last venue having applied a reduced gauge).

Les Dissonances © Yves Petit

57th Competition

Despite the health context, the 57th Young Conductors’ Competition was held in its entirety and kept a large audience on its toes, remaining an unmissable highlight of this edition.

At the end of the Final between Jong-Jie Yon (Chinese, 21 years old), Deun Lee (South Korean, 32 years old) and Chloé Dufresne (French, 29 years old), the jury chose to award three “special mentions”.
If the three finalists have each demonstrated undeniable qualities, none of them will have risen to the level of the Grand Prix de direction.
The French Chloé Dufresne was awarded the “coups de cœur” of the orchestra and the public.

The announcement of the non-awarding of the Grand Prize has caused many reactions from the public.
Let us recall that the latter is awarded after a week of tests. The jury’s judgment is based on the young conductors’ conducting skills as well as on the way they work with and with the guest orchestras during the competition, but also during the closed rehearsals, which were very revealing this year.

To award the Grand Prix to a candidate who does not have all the necessary weapons and assets is to propel him or her too early before major international orchestras whose judgment can be ruthless, with the risk of a harmful experience for the beginning of his or her career.

Competition Final © Yves Petit

Some figures

• In a context still marked by the aftermath of the health crisis, a drop in attendance was recorded but many have already returned to the concert halls

of attendance
spectators at paid concerts
spectators on the free concerts

• The 2021 budget is roughly equal to 2019, the last year with Competition

euros (provisional figure)

• In this year of recovery from the health crisis, the Festival would particularly like to thank all its partners and sponsors, both public and private, who have maintained their support and thus ensured that the Association is not in danger.