No winner at the Solti competition

The Georg Solti conducting competition in Frankfurt, dogged in recent years by fixing allegations, failed to produce a winner.

Out of 20 finalists, Tung-Chieh Chuang (32, Taiwan) shared second prize of 10,000 Euros with Elias Grandy (34, Germany). Toby Thatcher (26, Australia) came third with 5.000 €.

This is the seventh Solti competition. Among past winners, only James Gaffigan as gone on to head a prominent orchestra.

 

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  • Congratulations to Tung-Chieh Chuang, who also won Second Prize at the more prestigious Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2013. A fine musician and much appreciated by audiences and orchestral musicians. Here’s hoping that he will now make his mark in the music world, despite the Solti Competition’s past failings…

  • There are very few winners of conducting competitions who go on to make barnstorming careers on the international circuit. Most sink without trace. What is even more unsettling is that many of the finalists (and discounted semi-finalists) then go on and make their mark internationally. How can these juries get it so wrong over and over again?
    There is actually no substitute for starting as a repetiteur in a provincial German opera-house and learning your trade in the bywaters before gradually gaining recognition and getting the proverbial lucky break. This is how most of the great names in the 20th century established themselves as front-rank musicians.

  • Solti “less prestigious” than Mahler?
    Perhaps the prize money is slightly lower, but it’s always a distinguished jury and one of the best orchestras involved in a conducting competition: hr-Sinfonieorchester is fabulous and as good as Bamberger Symphoniker (Mahler) if not better.

  • Conductors can’t start learning their trade at the age of five, unlike most pianists and it takes some time after winning a competition before they can make a career. Claudio Abbado was a successful competition winner as was Bernstein.

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