Two women left in Malko competition

Two women left in Malko competition


norman lebrecht

June 11, 2021

The French conductor Chloé Dufresne will battle it out this weekend with China’s Linhan Cui and Dmitry Matvienko from Belarus.

Jurors says the British contender Joel Sandelson was unlucky to get cut out in the final vote.

The winner takes home €20,000 and a mentorship with jury chairman Fabio Luisi.




  • May says:

    I was impressed by Cui in the first two rounds, however yesterday she was not up to the job. The Byström was just a mess. Matvienko is on top because he actually listens to the orchestra and can respond fast enough to shape the results.

  • Wolfram says:

    Wow great

  • Emilie says:

    Joel Sandelson was clearly a better conductor and musician than the other 5 yesterday. Both the command and the content were far superior, with Debussy and Sibelius. It was really astonishing how the jurors didn’t see that.

    • Nep says:

      Exactly. For me, Sandalson is definitely the best. He’s totally in a different artistic level with others.

      Efficient rehearsal techniques, good ears and effective way of conducting. It’s hard to believe that the jury didn’t choose him into the final round. Even more surprisingly, the juries accept candidates who cannot properly make the orchestra sounds better. Two of the finalists is merely waving hands or dancing. Not even conducting.

  • Christian says:

    I have to say the first part of the third round (I didn’t hear the violin concerto) wasn’t quite fair, since it mostly didn’t leave the candidates any time for talking. And for those who did anyway, spending 1-2 minutes on correcting something in one bar out of 20 minutes worth of music just didn’t make sense.

    That was good for the competitors, but didn’t give an accurate representation of the conductors’ abilities to work, which for an orchestra is one of the most essential things. Most candidates dropped like a brick once they began to talk and pick things apart; you can show unbelievable things once the music is playing and you’re on the podium, but when you pause and start sharing your visual ideas about what the music is about, or explain phrasings and dynamics that are either obvious or already being executed by the orchestra, or you’re fixing things that are not problems, then you’ve lost me. I believe it’s a matter of trusting what you’re hearing, and not relating to what you’ve decided to correct beforehand while studying the score.

    With the exception of the guy from Belarus, who will win the competition, all of the semi-finalists appeared much better here than during the previous rounds, only because they were forced to not stop and chat. Apart from this unfair element in the competition, it was a great round, and I believe all the semi-finalists have a great future.

    • Tamino says:

      I disagree. It’s a fair test to have one round, where one has no rehearsal time to talk, only conducting, showing, not talking. That is much like jumping in on short notice for another conductor who fell ill. Something that makes or brakes many careers.
      What can you do without talking. Essential core competence of a conductor.

      • Christian says:

        Quite true! My point was that it’s easier for the conductor to make a good impression when not being allowed to talk.

        Something in the planning went wrong, though. The candidates were supposed to make a run through the first piece, then a run through the new piece followed by a short rehearsal of this. By the time they reached the end of it, the time had run out for the majority – and I don’t think that was on purpose.

  • Sergio says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that the strongest and the most unique competitors were cut after the 2 and 3 rounds (Holly Hyun Choe, Joel Sandelson, Katharina Wincor)?
    I also do not get why some of the commenters above have mentioned a contestant who I do not see as an interesting and deep conductor/human being.

  • Maestra says:

    Chloe will win the competition.

  • Bad conductor says:

    I was in the competition!
    It is disgrace from the very first round!
    The only thing that could save this competition is NO FIRST AWARD WINNER

  • Jean-Pierre says:

    OK I’m surprised but the results are not bad. I was wrong that they simply pick ”commercial” choices.