The Besançon Competition is open to all artists under 35 who wish to become professional conductors, whatever their training or their experience ; no previous diploma is required. The Besançon Competition is the only one where candidates are not selected on their documentation (biography) but during live auditions.

• The competition opens 270 places per edition: registrations close as soon as the seating limit is reached.

• Registrations for the 56th Competition have been closed since January 8, 2019.

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Steps and dates of the 56th Competition

Preliminaries – 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
Yan Pascal Tortelier (Jury Chairman)
and Catherine Larsen Maguire

• 2019 Program:

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”
From 15th to 18th April 2019
Maximum 115 candidates

China, Beijing

Central Conservatory of Music
23rd and 24th April 2019
Maximum 35 candidates

Canada, Montréal

Faculté de musique de l’Université de Montréal
27th and 28th April 2019
Maximum 30 candidates

France, Besançon

Conservatoire à rayonnement régional du Grand Besançon
From 30th April to 4th May 2019
(except 1st May)
Maximum 90 candidates

Final rounds – September 2019

The final rounds take place from 16 to 21 September 2019 in Besançon, during the 72nd edition of the Besançon Music Festival.

• All of the rounds with orchestra are open to the public. All works are imposed.
After the preliminaries only twenty candidates will be entered into the orchestra rounds to be held in Besançon in September.

• 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.


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
Maximum 20 candidates
Richard Wagner : Siegfried Idyll, extraits
Jacques Ibert : Divertissement, extraits

Second round: Concerto and Symphony

Tuesday 17th September, 2:30 and 8:00 pm
Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté
Nicolas Dautricourt, violon Maximum 12 candidates
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

Semi-final: Oratorio

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

Semi-final: Oper

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

Final: Symphony and World Premiere

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

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-François 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.

The 20 candidates for the final rounds

  • Mrs Anne-Louise Bourion, France (28 y.o.)
  • Mr Hongjun Chen, China (22)
  • Mr Laurent Comte, France (26)
  • Mr Ivan Demidov, Russia (28) – Finalist 2017
  • Mr Jeon Hee-Beom, South Korea (35) – 1/4 finalist 2017
  • Mr Victor Jacob, France (28) – 1/2 finalist 2017
  • Mr Georg Köhler, Germany (31)
  • Mr Haoran Li, China (33)
  • Mr Jingsong Lin, China (33)
  • Mr Jonathan Mann, Great-Britain (33)
  • Mr Léo Margue, France (29)
  • Mrs Nodoka Okisawa, Japan (32)
  • Mrs Silvina Peruglia, Spain/Argentina (33)
  • Mrs Charlotte Politi, Italy/France (29)
  • Mr Ngai Cheung Sit, Hong Kong (30) – Selected in 2017
  • Mr Johann Stuckenbruck, USA (28)
  • Mr Yu Sugimoto, Japan (29)
  • Mr Federico Tibone, Italy (33)
  • Mr Salvador Vazquez Sanchez, Spain (33)
  • Mr Su-Han Yang, Taiwan (30) – 1/2 finalist 2017