Did you know there’s an EU conducting competition?

Did you know there’s an EU conducting competition?


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2018

It is going on right now in Bulgaria.

The first prize is munificent:

– 1 concert in one major theatre in Milan during the 2019 Italian tour of the Kodaly Philarmonic Orchestra in 2019*;
– 2 concerts in two major theatres in Italy during the 2019 Italian tour of the Kodaly Philarmonic Orchestra in 2019*;
– To conduct one opera performance in 2018/2019 season at the National Theatre in Opava (Czech Republic);
– 1 concert in Pazardjik Symphony Orchestra 2018/2019 Season in Pazardjik (Bulgaria);
– 1 limited series, tailor made ABL conducting baton with case
– Official Diploma.
– €1.250,00

The decision, according to EU rules, will be made by committee.

It must be Luxembourg’s turn to win something. Or maybe Malta’s.



  • Simon says:

    It has nothing to do with the European Union as an institution. It is organized by a private Italian association which gave this competition a somehow misleading title. The same association also organizes the Antal Doráti conducting competition in Hungary and the past edition of the Mendelssohn conducting competition in Greece.

    • Wtiness says:

      I heard a saying: they are the enemy of Solti Conducting Competition.
      Also, a candidate was proud saying: i started to learn to conduct at age 36…

  • John Doe says:

    From a conductor who was there and stopped at the third round, I want to share my experience of this competition because there are many things that were not organized like a good and decent competition.
    Many competitions have problems, but these ones are major.
    1. The first round was open to 75 conductors. That’s a lot. Too much even, but this is what happens when it’s a money machine. Frankly I applied not seeing that number at first, and was surprised seeing my name around so many other people. (240 applied) To the second round, passed only 20, which is almost one out of 4. Ridiculous. I was lucky enough to pass, but many good and strong conductor friends didn’t and I already suspected of something.
    2. There are no videos to benefit from. You would think that after paying 200 euros of participation fee, you could at least receive a few videos. But there were no cameras on stage, no one will ever have a small movie to benefit from for the future.
    3. The name EU competition might have insinuated that it was open only for EU citizens, but it’s not. It’s an Italian competition being held in Bulgaria, in one of the cheapest cities of all, there is no publicity around the city, there’s no public in the hall. Nothing. They are only concerned about making money, spending the least possible – money machine.
    4. Each round itself is impossible to prepare correctly for. They say around 15 minutes, but the first round was barely 10 min. each, when you have no idea what they expect from, or even what to do before you get on stage. Normal competitions tell you at least 30 minutes before if not the day before. In this case, you go on stage “do this, do that”…. and how much time I have? “oh we’ll stop you….” So what strategy do you take? Run through? Work? who knows.
    5. This will be already a subjective one, but I heard many colleagues complaining about the results of the third round which I can’t comment on, because active competitors were not allowed to watch their colleagues. So I’ll have to rely on 6-7 friends who watched and came up to me telling me that more than half of the semi finalists are extremely bad, and some might be explained by protection… We’ll see what happens for the finals.

    I must say there are far worse money machine competitions than this, but making the calculation – 75 * 200 euros, and giving only about 2,500 euros in prizes….
    It seems to me that their concern to the future of conducting is close to none.

  • off the podium music podcast says:

    If the competition is charging you more than 50$ for an entrance fee consider it a scam. So many young conductors and musicians in general fall for these, it’s unfortunate. If these organizations really cared to advance the art of conducting they would not even charge for an application fee. If you can’t find funding to hold the competition, and pay for judges to look over the materials then you should not be allowed to hold such events. Many young musicians are unable to even apply to these. Ridiculous