International Competition for young conductors

Jonathon Heyward won the Grand Prix of the 54th International Competition for Young Conductors

Sunday Septembre the 20th, the American Jonathon Heyward (23 years) won the Grand Prix of the 54th International Competition for Young Conductors in Besançon, conducting pieces of John Adams, Guillaume Connesson (world premiere) and Johannes Brahms. The young American seduced technically and emotionally the Jury chaired by Dennis Russell Davies. Jury took into account all the rounds since the 1/8 finals.

In 2013, after participating to the Competition Blue Danube Opera, Jonathon Heyward joined the world of orchestral conducting as associate conductor of the Hampstead Garden Opera. He became then the youngest semi-finalist in the history of the competition. He is currently enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music in orchestral conducting under the tutelage of Professor Sian Edwards. From 2012 to 2014, he studied at the Music Conservatory in Boston and was assistant conductor at the Conservatory Opera Department. In 2013, he became the music director of Boston opera for children. Jonathon is regularly guest of various ensembles in the cities of New York, Boston and London. As instrumentalist (cello), a former student of Andrew Mark, he obtained a degree in cello from the Boston Conservatory. Jonathon played in orchestras such as the Commonwealth Boston Lyric Theatre Orchestra and the New England Philharmonic. In Brilliant Mistakes (awared film), directed by Jonas Friedman, we can hear the work of the young soloist. Jonathon’s passion for teaching led him to positions in New Haven and New York.

Grand Prix  :  12 000 €,  Breitling watche, artistic secretariat (for 4 months), original trophee made by students from Lycée Saint-Joseph (Besançon) and possible commitments with partner orchestras: Orchestre national de Lille / Orchestre national d’Île-de-France / Estivales de musique en Médoc / Orchestre symphonique de la Radio nationale polonaise (Katowice) / Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie / Orchestre de Douai Région Nord Pas de Calais / London Philharmonic Orchestra / St-Petersburg symphony orchestra / Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Philharmonie zuidnederland / Sinfonia Varsovia / Sinfonieorchester Basel / Orchestre national Bordeaux Aquitaine / Orchestre symphonique Bienne Soleure / Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken / Kaiserslautern Prague Symphony Orchestra / Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté / Orchestre philharmonique Royal de Liège.

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06/27/2015 – Pictures

Want to relive the 2015 Competition, to immerse yourself in the trials, to enter deliberation room jury members or find yourself closer to the candidates? Visit the page Pictures!

09/20/2015 – And the winner is…

The American Jonathon HEYWARD (23 years) won tonight the Grand Prix of the 54th International Competition for Young Conductors in Besançon, conducting pieces of John Adams, Guillaume Connesson (world premiere) and Johannes Brahms.
The young American seduced technically and emotionally the Jury chaired by Dennis Russell Davies. Jury took into account all the rounds since the 1/8 finals.

The « Public favorite prize » and the « Orchestra favorite prize » rewarded the Japanese Yukari Saito (32 years).

09/18/2015 – The candidates selected for the Finale

  • M Jonathon Heyward, Americain (23 years old)
  • M Helmuth Reichel Silva, Chilean (32 years old)
  • Mme Yukari Saito, Japanese (32 years old)

09/17/2015 – The candidates selected for 1/2 of finale

  • M Marc Hajjar, French (31 years old)
  • M Jonathon Heyward, Americain (23 years old)
  • M Helmuth Reichel Silva, Chilean (32 years old)
  • Mme Yukari Saito, Japanese (32 years old)
  • M Hideto Nomura, Japanese (34 years old)

09/16/2015 – The candidates selected for 1/4 of finale

Only 9 candidates selected for the 1/4 of Finale :

  •  M Haofu Chai, Mongolian (23 years old)
  • M Marc Hajjar, French (31 years old)
  • M Jonathon Heyward, Americain (23 years old)
  • M Janis Liepins, Latvian (27 years old)
  • M Hideto Nomura, Japanese (34 years old)
  • M Helmuth Reichel Silva, Chilean (32 years old)
  • Mme Yukari Saito, Japanese (32 years old)
  • M Shimpei Sasaki, Japanese (33 years old)
  • M Victorien Vanoosten, French (31 years old)

09/04/2015 – A third French in the 20 selected candidates

The Japanese Yashima Erina announced she would not participate at the finals rouds of the Competition, having accepted the invitation of Ricardo Muti to participate in selections for a training cycle with the Orchestra Chicago Symphony.
On the proposal of the two jury members who participated of the selectives rounds (Jorge Rotter and Dante Anzolini), and in agreement with the jury president Dennis Russell Davies, the Competition’s proposed to Alexander Jung, a 32 year old French, to participate of the final rounds. Despite the short time of preparation, he agreed to meet this challenge.
There is now three women and seventeen men, including three French. This is the first time in the recent history of the competition that a late withdrawal results in a replacement by another candidate.

06/10/2015 – Video of preselections

Interviews of candidates, jury and pianists of preselections… Watch a video of the 54th Competition selective rounds!

05/11/2015 – The 20 candidates selected for the final rounds

The preset tests of the competition are completed. Jorge Rotter and Dante Anzolini, both members of the jury, accompanied by two pianists went to Beijing, Berlin, Montreal and Besançon in order to audition all the candidates.
Each candidate was directing two pianists, they have played different extracts from the 2nd Symphony of Beethoven and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
At the end of the deliberations the two members of the jury have selected 20 candidates from 15 different nationalities. Among them, four women and 16 men; the average age of candidates is 29 years old approximately.

  •  M Haofu Chai, Mongolian (23 years old)
  • M Yu-An Chang, Taiwanese (30 years old)
  • Mme Yuanyuan Cui, Chinese (25 years old)
  • M Gevorg Gharabekyan, Armenian / Swiss (32 years old)
  • M Marc Hajjar, French (31 years old)
  • M Jonathon Heyward, Americain (23 years old)
  • M Yoshinao Kihara, Japanese (28 years old)
  • Mme Yuwon Kim, Korean (27 years old)
  • M Tsvetan Krumov, Bulgarian (29 years old)
  • M Janis Liepins, Latvian (27 years old)
  • M Sergey Neller, Russe (31 years old)
  • M Hideto Nomura, Japanese (34 years old)
  • M Jamie Reeves, Americain (28 years old)
  • M Helmuth Reichel Silva, Chilean (32 years old)
  • Mme Yukari Saito, Japanese (32 years old)
  • M Shimpei Sasaki, Japanese (33 years old)
  • M Marek Sedivy, Czech (28 years old)
  • M Michiel Van Vliet, Dutch (33 years old)
  • M Victorien Vanoosten, French (31 years old)
  • Mme Erina Yashima, Japanese (29 years old)

Of the 270 candidates registered, 238 candidates came for the preset tests.
31,352 kilometers were traveled by the jury during 15 days (over three-quarters of the turn of the earth …).
They listened to the same music for about 54h30, about 2,5 days listening to the same music…

 04/20/2015 – Preselections of the Competition

Back from Beijing after two days of preselections (April 18 and 19), the two pianists and two jury members take the direction of the Cité des arts in Besançon for another three days; nearly 100 candidates will be heard!

04/07/2015 – 54th Competition

In ten days begin the selective rounds of the 54th International Competition for Young Conductors.
270 candidates will present in Beijing, Besançon, Berlin and Montreal; they will have 10 minutes to convince the jury and try to win one of twenty up to the finals in September in Besançon!

From September 2016, Kazuki Yamada (winner of the Competition in 2009) will be the new artistic and musical director of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, orchestra which he is currently a guest conductor.
Watch his interview made the day before the Final of the 52nd Competition in Besançon.

1/29 – Closing of the registrations

The registrations are closed since 11:37 am.
The 270 places were reserved a few hours before the announced schedule of closure.

  • Besançon: full (the 29th of January, 11:37 am (French hours)
  • Berlin: full (the 29th of January, 8:00 am (French hours)
  • Pékin & Montréal: full

11/28 – Opening of the registrations!

The registrations for the 54e Competition for young conductors are open!
Learn more about the Competition here or download the booklet of the 54e Competition.
Candidates have to register only online on the application page.

11/01 – Competition 2015

The final rounds of the 54th International Competition for young conductors of Besançon Franche-Comté will take place from 15 till 20 September 2015.
Information about inscriptions will be available in November.

2013/09/21 – Winner of the 53rd Competition

The Taiwanese Yao-Yu Wu ( 24 years) win the 53rd international Competition of Besançon Franche-Comté