Mahler Competition returns next month

The competition returns for its seventh edition with more candidates than ever before following the highest number of applications received in the competition’s history.

The Bamberg Symphony will next month welcome young conductors to the German town of Bamberg for the seventh edition of the Mahler Competition. Running from 7 to 15 July, 20 young conductors will conduct the Bamberg Symphony in front of the competition jury in the hopes of winning cash prizes plus performance and development opportunities.

The 2023 competition is the organisation’s first edition since it was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic. In previous competitions, a maximum of 14 candidates competed but, as the competition has received 350 applications, the highest number in its history, for this year’s competition, the number of competitors has been increased. You can find a full list of this year’s candidates here.

Jakub Hrůša, principal conductor of the Bamberg Symphony, said: ‘What I personally find crucial and extremely beautiful is the mixture of the sharp critical judgement of the splendid jury and the most supportive atmosphere stemming from the orchestra members themselves as well as the whole institution and all renowned guests amongst observers. All participants can not only compete and succeed but also learn deeply and get valuable experiences for their future lives in the arts.’

Hrůša will lead the 15-strong competition jury which will also include other members of the orchestra team including president and CEO Marcus Rudolf Axt and second concertmaster Mayra Budagjan. The jury will also include baritone Thomas Hampson; soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan, violinist and conductor John Storgårds and former managing director of the Berlin Philharmonic, Pamela Rosenberg, as well as conductors Juanjo Mena, John Carewe and Mark Stringer. Composer Miroslav Srnka will also be on the jury alongside president of the New York Philharmonic, Deborah Borda; director of the Ojai Music Festival, Ara Guzelimian, and competition patron Marina Mahler.

Participants will compete for a first prize of €30,000 plus three years of career coaching, a second prize worth €20,000 and a third prize of €10,000 as well as a new prize introduced this year for the best interpretation of a contemporary creation, worth €7,500). To make the experience as accessible as possible, the competition does not request participation fees and all travel and accommodation costs are covered by the organisation.

Classical Music