In April 2007 the second Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition took place in Bamberg. More than 220 young conductors, among them 33 women, from more than 40 countries had applied to participate. After an extensive pre-selection 14 candidates, three of whom were women, from 10 different countries were finally invited to come to Bamberg.
In three rounds the young artists conducted the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra before a jury comprising internationally renowned conductors, composers and managers. From the second round onwards the jury was joined by a public audience. Alongside works by Gustav Mahler and Franz Schubert, the repertoire consisted of ”Time stretch (on Gesualdo)” by Bruno Mantovani as well as "Juno" and "The Torino Scale" from Mark-Anthony Turnage's "Asteroids (for orchestra)". All the works by Mantovani and Turnage were commissioned by the Bamberg Symphony and premiered with Jonathan Nott prior to the competition.
And even though there was no first prize this time, the jury honoured four excellent young conductors: Shi-Yeon Sung (2nd Prize, South Korea), Benjamin Schwartz (3rd Prize, USA), Ewa Strusinska (4th Prize, Poland) and Yoel Gamzou (USA), who received the Special Encouragement Award.
As Jonathan Nott points out, the major goal of the competition is not just to find a winner but to support the next generation of musicians to the highest level possible and to provide the young conductors with an experience that will enrich their lives. Just as in 2004, when the first competition was held, the feedback generated by participants, audience and press proved that the competition succeeded in its aim, which it will pursue again in 2010 when the next Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition will take place in Bamberg.
Please visit our press archive for articles on the competition.